Guy Johnstone, who operates the Michelle Rose Community Supported Fishery in Cowichan Bay, hopes that an emergency review of new regulations governing the spot prawn industry will see some changes. (File photo)

Guy Johnstone, who operates the Michelle Rose Community Supported Fishery in Cowichan Bay, hopes that an emergency review of new regulations governing the spot prawn industry will see some changes. (File photo)

Feds to conduct emergency review of new West Coast prawn fishery regulations

Regulations make the sale of frozen-at-sea spot prawns illegal

Guy Johnstone is cautiously optimistic about the federal government’s decision to hold an emergency review of the new regulations regarding frozen-at-sea spot prawns.

Johnstone, a fisherman in Cowichan Bay who operates the Michelle Rose Community Supported Fishery, said the decision by the federal Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans to conduct a review of the regulations that make the sale of frozen-at-sea spot prawns illegal for the first time is a step in the right direction.

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN BAY PRAWN FISHER FEARS FOR LIVELIHOOD WITH NEW REGULATIONS

“It’s hard to say if the review will accomplish anything, but I’m happy the issue is being taken seriously,” he said.

“So far, due to pressure from the public, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has said that, as far as they are concerned, defying the new regulations is a contravention of the law, but they won’t enforce the regulations in 2021. But that’s just punting it down the line. Fishers and the communities need this changed and we need a long-term solution to this issue.”

DFO’s objection to freezing spot prawns on fishing boats is in reference to a reinterpretation of the regulation requiring all harvested products to be readily available for measurement by enforcement officers on fishing boats.

The measurements are typically done while the prawns are still alive on the sorting tables and, up until now, if they were already frozen, the fishermen would be required to thaw the prawns so they could be measured.

But DFO has recently determined that frozen-at-sea spot prawns are no longer considered readily available for measurement, and are no longer allowed, which could effectively stop the sale of all frozen spot-prawns to Canadian markets, including local ones that many fishermen, including Johnstone, depend on for much of their income.

That raised a furor in local fishing communities and politicians, including Alistair MacGregor, MP for Cowichan–Malahat–Langford, as well as Vancouver Island NDP MPs Gord Johns and Rachel Blaney, got involved.

RELATED STORY: MACGREGOR SEEKS PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY INTO CHANGES IN PRAWN FISHERY

MacGregor sent a letter to Ken McDonald, chairman of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, asking that DFO review the regulations and Gord Johns, who is the critic for Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard, successfully moved a motion in the House of Commons asking for an emergency review.

MacGregor said that while a projected start date for the review has not yet been determined, committee members did indicate their support that it be the next study they do, and he expects the review to begin by mid-May.

“I am pleased to learn that the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has heeded my call for an emergency study,” MacGregor said.

“This is the result of tireless advocacy from the BC Prawn Industry Caucus, Vancouver Island NDP MPs Rachel Blaney and Gord Johns, and our concerned constituents,” he said.

“I would encourage everyone involved to continue putting pressure on Ottawa by signing petitions and writing the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Just Posted

Vernon resident David Melanson, 21, left the South Hills Tertiary Psychiatric Centre in Brocklehurst at about 1 a.m. on May 12, the day he was reported missing. (Contributed)
Body of missing Vernon man found in Kamloops Lake

David Melanson, 21, left psychiatric centre around 1 a.m. the day he was reported missing

Canadian author Paul Young, who wrote the critically acclaimed novel, the Shack, will join Vernon-based foundation, the Emily Dahl Foundation, for a Fireside Chat event in June 2021. (YouTube)
Acclaimed author to talk mental health at Vernon event

Paul Young, author of bestselling book The Shack, to join Emily Dahl Foundation for Fireside Chat June 8

Vernon-based artist Patricia Neil Lawton is offering a cash reward to the person who can find her missing painting. (Contributed)
Vernon artist offers cash reward for missing painting

Artist Patricia Neil Lawton missing portrait of Billy Muir after downsizing

Shane Ertmoed (right) is serving a life sentence for killing 10-year-old Heather Thomas on Oct. 1, 2000. (File photos)
Child-killer from Vernon an ‘average’ risk to sexually reoffend: Parole Board

Written reasons behind approval of Shane Ertmoed’s request for escorted absences shared

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn

Your morning start for Friday, May 14, 2021

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardner finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kelowna rain
Kelowna records driest March on record, spells summer trouble for Okanagan

In March, Kelowna received a total of 2.6 mm of precipitation, compared to the monthly average of almost 22 mm

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth debates the province’s latest measure to control crime, March 10, 2021. The legislation allows police to impound vehicles used to transport weapons and further restricts sale of vehicle and body armour. (B.C. legislature video)
B.C. seeking ways to ‘name and shame’ gangsters, minister says

Mike Farnworth appeals to family members to talk to police

Jonathan Prest had to climb way up to the top of a dead red cedar tree to rescue a terrified cat, but he made it up and down successfully. (Facebook photos)
Tree cutter rescues cat stuck 100 feet up a dead and dried-out cedar

Jonathan Prest put himself in extreme peril to get a terrified cat out of a dangerous situation

Most Read