Queens-Shelburne MLA Sterling Belliveau is raising concerns over a DFO decision to allow a foreign trawler access to Canadian fishing resources.
NDP MLA Sterling Belliveau is concerned about the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' (DFO) decision to grant a temporary license to an Arichat company so it can hire an Icelandic factory freezer trawler to catch and process 1,500 metric tons of redfish.
Belliveau says while he understands the need to support the company following a devastating fire this summer, he has strong reservations about giving a foreign vessel access to Canada’s coastal resources.
“I think it sets a dangerous precedent,” said Belliveau. “I know there are boats tied up right now capable of harvesting that quota and there are other processing plants across the province that can process redfish. I appreciate the need to find a temporary solution to this issue, but people in the industry have serious concerns about the approach that was taken.”
Belliveau wonders why this solution was developed in secrecy. He feels DFO should have been more transparent with harvesters and processors prior to taking this unprecedented step.
“Everyone I’ve talked to is asking why they found about this decision after the fact. Just over a year ago DFO was contemplating eliminating the owner operator and fleet separation policies without industry consultation, and as a result there is a strong sensitivity to this decision. Fish harvesters are worried this won’t be the last time DFO, under the Conservative government, allows a foreign vessel to operate in our coastal waters.”