Over the Top Response to Newfoundland Shrimp Allocation, FFAW says

August 31, 2011, 2:00 PM EST

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FFAW/CAW President Earle McCurdy said he is "flabbergasted' to hear that Newfoundland shrimp processing companies want a 3,000 metric tonne shrimp allocation limited to offshore shrimp vessels only.

The quota in question belongs to St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc (SABRI), a community-based group on the tip of the Northern Peninsula, which for the past 14 years has engaged Clearwater Seafoods to catch the quota using an offshore vessel. Clearwater and SABRI are partners in the operations of St. Anthony Seafoods, which processes shrimp in the town employing FFAW/CAW members.

This year SABRI asked Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield for approval to have the quota caught by inshore vessels and processed at the plant in St. Anthony. Ashfield approved the request, which means extra fishing opportunities for inshore shrimpers and extra work for St. Anthony plant workers.

But McCurdy said the backlash from other processors has been "over the top." "Now they're opposing a 3,000 m.t. allocation that would provide badly-needed work for a hard-pressed area," McCurdy said.

The FFAW-CAW has recommended to Ashfield that the harvesting of this allocation by the inshore sector continue and that fishing opportunities be expanded within the inshore fleet to benefit as many enterprises as possible.

McCurdy said the processors' position would result in shrimp being processed in Iceland or Greenland instead of St. Anthony.

The FFAW/CAW represents 150 workers at St. Anthony Seafoods and approximately 1,400 inshore shrimp harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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