April 2, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet today spoke out against the decision of federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea to reduce New Brunswick's share of Gulf of St. Lawrence shrimp while permanently increasing the allocations to both Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
"At a time when the shrimp fleet in our province requires stability of access to its historic quotas in order to maintain its viability, it defies any logic to permanently increase the allocations for provinces that do not have a shrimp industry to speak of," said Doucet.
The shrimp fisheries in New Brunswick and Quebec recently obtained international certification through the Marine Stewardship Council in recognition of management and environmental practices that support the sustainability of shrimp stocks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
"Increasing supply at a time when science is indicating stocks are on a decline could jeopardize this international recognition of a sustainable shrimp fishery on the world market," said Doucet. "Undermining these efforts would hurt our coastal communities that count on new export market opportunities to become more viable."
Doucet said that plans being considered by New Brunswick's shrimp industry to rationalize fishing efforts were based on stable access to shrimp quotas. Now that Shea has opted to give P.E.I. and Nova Scotia permanent access to Gulf of St. Lawrence shrimp, Doucet said that the federal government has a moral and financial responsibility to help New Brunswick shrimpers.
Doucet also said that this decision reinforces the need to modernize Canada's outdated Fisheries Act, with legislation that would allow for greater transparency in such areas as the decision-making process for establishing quotas. Doucet is also demanding an urgent meeting of Canada's fisheries ministers.
In New Brunswick, the Gulf of St. Lawrence shrimp allocations generate 300 direct jobs, and represent about $20 million in exports.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Angélique Binet, communications, Department of Fisheries, 506-457- 3549; Paul Harpelle, communications, Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, 506-444- 4218.