MARYSTOWN, NL - The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is continuing with its series of outreach sessions for inshore harvesters in the province this week with four meetings on the south coast.
The first was held in Placentia on Monday with another set for Marystown tonight, Nov. 21.
John Lubar, DFO’s director for the Southern, Western and Straits Area, said the meetings have a loosely structured agenda and are open for discussion on any topic, issue or concern harvesters might have about the fish industry.
“We saw it as a way to talk directly to harvesters outside our normal consultation process, which is geared fishery by fishery and is with the organizations that represent the fishermen,” he said.
Meetings were held on the west coast two weeks ago. Turnout has varied, Lubar said. In Hawke’s Bay about 50 people attended. Last night in Placentia, there was about three dozen. Others have had just a handful.
Lubar said some of the topics discussed to date include bycatch restrictions on Atlantic halibut, DFO’s recent decision to open of the 3Ps cod fishery to the offshore fleet, concerns about pelagic species, particularly caplin, which many harvesters say were scarce this year, and the tuna fishery.
“We try to respond (to the harvesters) where we can,” Lubar said. “We’re recording their comments and, probably after Christmas, we will put out a summary document about the kinds of issues we heard about.”
Two more meetings are scheduled on the south coast for Thursday. One will take place at the English Harbour West Lions Club from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The other is slated for the Harbour Breton Loyal Orange Lodge from 4-6 p.m.
Tonight’s meeting will take place at the Marystown Hotel and Convention Centre from 6-8 p.m.