Atlantic Canadian Commercial Fishing Industry Calls for Clear Regulatory Oversight for All Fisheries

YARMOUTH, NS – The Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance (UFCA), a newly formed alliance of commercial fishery stakeholders, is calling on the Government of Canada to establish clear, lasting, responsible, regulatory oversight for all fisheries – commercial, food, social, and ceremonial.

Established in Nov. 2020, the UFCA represents thousands of multi-species commercial fishermen, fishery associations, and associated businesses from across Atlantic Canada and its membership is growing.

“Unfortunately, regulatory uncertainty is causing anxiety and concern among fishermen and others over the long-term sustainability and prosperity of the industry,” said Colin Sproul, Board Member, UFCA, and President, Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association. “It is essential that every community, association and fisherman in the Atlantic fishery have certainty as to the rules they abide by. Clear rules, regulations, compliance, and enforcement are needed.”

Just as commercial fisheries operate today, there is room for diversity. There can be differences within allocation structures, administration, and process. However, rules must ultimately and clearly form part of an integrated set of regulations that conserve fishery resources for generations to come and ensure a fair and respectful fishery for all.

The UFCA believes that Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen can work side by side like they do today in the commercial fishery and recognizes and acknowledges the importance of cooperation with Indigenous communities, and that Indigenous fishermen have a right to fish for commercial, food, social, and ceremonial. 

“We want to work with the Government of Canada and First Nations to inform and understand viewpoints and ultimately establish regulatory certainty. Our members reject all forms of racism, intolerance, and violence, and believe there is a path to move beyond the controversies and heated rhetoric of recent months, to a positive outcome for all,” said Sproul.

The UFCA will be seeking a meeting with Government of Canada representatives in early 2021 to discuss its concerns and potential specific solutions for an integrated set of regulations that would conserve fishery resources for generations to come and ensure a fair and respectful fishery for all.

The commercial fishery is vital to Atlantic Canada. For thousands of Atlantic Canadians who work on the boats, wharves, processing plants, and throughout the supply chain, the commercial fishery is their livelihood. For rural communities and governments, the fisheries represent jobs, a tax base, and economic impact that helps to provide vital services for all residents.

The UFCA includes members from:

  • Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association
  • Brazil Rock 33/34 Fishermen’s Association
  • Coldwater Lobster Association
  • Scotia Fundy Inshore fishermen’s Association
  • Cape Breton Fish Harvester’s Association
  • Eastern Shore Fishermen’s Protective Association
  • Fundy North Fishermen’s Association
  • Guysborough County Inshore Fishermen’s Association
  • Richmond County Inshore Fishermen’s Association