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Public needs to know what’s going on with fisheries issues: Hynes


Augustus Hynes of Fox Island River hopes protests on Monday in St. John’s will bring lots more attention and support in getting the concerns of fishermen relayed to Ottawa.

He and his wife, Debbie, were among a large group of fishermen on the scene at the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union offices in St. John’s on Monday morning looking for a meeting.

They didn’t get one, because nobody from the union showed up, he said.

They were among about 30 fish harvesters protesting in front of the FFAW office on Monday morning, and the Hynes also attended an event at White Hills, where Richard Gillett returned to the demonstration outside the DFO headquarters to address his supporters Monday morning.

Hynes said it was good to hear his words and that something needs to be done about the fishery, especially where it’s not going well with the quotas for halibut in Port au Port and no crab going up the Northern Peninsula coast towards Port aux Choix.

“Here’s a man that was basically starving himself to death and still couldn’t get anybody to talk to. They ran away again,” Hynes said of union representatives who weren’t in the FFAW offices on Monday.

Hynes said he signed up with Fish-NL, but that union hasn’t been certified yet and he’s still paying union dues to the FFAW, but fish harvesters can’t get anyone to talk to with them.

There was some talk of a meeting at 2 p.m. on Monday, but that didn’t go ahead, according to Hynes. He said he and his wife planned to drive back home Tuesday.

At Monday’s protest, fishermen at first tied a rope to the main doors of the office on Hamilton Avenue, but cooler heads prevailed and the ropes were let go in favour of a peaceful protest.

Despite remaining peaceful, Hynes said, it’s really frustrating when you can’t even get to talk to people that are supposed to be looking out for you.

“And it’s not just us (fish harvesters) that are being affected, there are fish dealers, restaurants and many others in the food industry that will suffer,” he said.

He’s encouraged that the recent happenings with the hunger strike and their protest on Monday is picking up some support on social media. He said the issue needs more attention and the public needs to be informed a lot more of what’s going on.

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