January 18th, 2022
New plan for spot prawn fishery is a win for harvesters: NDP
NANAIMO – NDP critic for fisheries and oceans, Lisa Marie Barron, and deputy critic, Gord Johns, say that the newly-announced plan for prawn and shrimp fisheries from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is a victory for B.C. prawn harvesters. This decision comes after months of uncertainty and proposed regulation changes by the Liberal government, which would have threatened the livelihoods of independent harvesters.
“Yesterday’s decision shows that the best management plans are created in consultation with harvesters and local communities. All of this uncertainty could have been avoided if the Liberals had worked collaboratively from the start,” said Barron. “It's encouraging that DFO now recognizes that strong conservation and traceability standards can be found while maintaining these good, sustainable harvesting practices.”
New Democrats have worked closely with prawn harvesters to raise concerns about the reinterpretation of spot prawn regulations in recent months. In December, DFO had proposed the reduction of container sizes from 24 oz. containers to 8oz. – a change that would have dramatically increased costs to harvesters and required the use of more plastic and fuel. Last year, a sudden reinterpretation of regulations by DFO had threatened the entire practice of frozen-at-sea prawn harvesting which would have made it very difficult for harvesters and coastal communities to make ends meet.
“Prawn harvesters have finally had their voices heard, and a common-sense solution was found,” said Johns. “Key stakeholders have been working together for months to raise these concerns; they shared petitions and appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. But the Liberals should not have put harvesters through this stress and uncertainty in the first place. It's good to see that the right solution was found in the end.”