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NL legislature calls on DFO to reverse Atlantic halibut allocation decision

Halibut fishery. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

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Thursday, May 28, 2015, 22:30 (GMT + 9)
The Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly unanimously passed a private member’s motion condemning and seeking the immediate reversal of last week’s Atlantic halibut quota allocation decision by federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Gail Shea.

According to the Provincial Government, the Federal Government's decision ignores the established sharing arrangement for halibut quotas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and continues to erode Newfoundland and Labrador's share.
The decision divides the 172.8-tonne increase in the halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) quota equally among eight groups instead of respecting this province’s established share of 29.1 per cent. This means the Newfoundland and Labrador inshore fixed-gear fleet will receive approximately 21 tonnes of the increase instead of the 50 tonnes it should receive based on the established sharing arrangement.

The Provincial Government stresses that this decision effectively takes away halibut from Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters to the benefit of Maritime Provinces.

“I am pleased the House of Assembly has unanimously supported this important motion. Minister Shea’s decision has ignored the established allocation formula for Atlantic halibut in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and can be added to an ever-growing list of Federal Government decisions that are negatively impacting our province," said Vaughn Granter, provincial Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

"The fact that members of all three parties in the provincial legislature have supported this motion speaks to the importance of this issue to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in all regions of our province.”

Minister Granter wrote a letter to Minister Shea on 21 May, the day her decision was announced, outlining the province’s deep concerns with this most recent Gulf halibut quota allocation.

The Provincial Government says it will continue to support the families and communities who rely on this resource and advocate on behalf of fish harvesters for a fair share of Gulf halibut in accordance with the established sharing arrangement. 

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