NDP Slams Conservatives Over Cuts to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans

OTTAWA – Today, Fin Donnelly, NDP Fisheries and Oceans critic, and NDP MP Ryan Cleary, St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, demanded that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans come clean on Conservative cuts of $56.8 million to the department. Last week the Department of Fisheries and Oceans sent a confidential memo to staff outlining details about their plans to gut the budget.

“The Conservative government is turning their back on Canadian fishing families,” said Donnelly. “Cuts to conservation, science-based management and the closure of two marine rescue centres show that this government is out of touch with the priorities of our coastal communities and those that make a living from the wild fishery.”

The department plans to move to multi-year fish stock assessments and make significant cuts to science, fisheries management and conservation.

Canada’s New Democrats are alarmed that the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council and the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council have been eliminated. These advisory bodies gathered important information from hundreds of fishers and combined it with other scientific information to guide the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on fish stocks and quotas.

“The FRCC was the one voice that fishermen had to express their opinions on quotas,” said Ryan Cleary, MP for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl. “The cancellation of the FRCC not only ends input from fishermen, it wipes out any hint of transparency.”

“Canadians are very concerned that the Conservative government is putting the future of our commercial fishery in jeopardy by their misguided cuts. It is time for the Minister to wake up and recognize the importance of Canadian fishing families and our coastal communities,” said Donnelly.