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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton, the historians behind popular Facebook page Lost Kootenays, are set to release a book of the same name and have just unveiled its cover showing the ghostly Hotel in Slocan City shortly before its 1953 demolition. Photo courtesy of Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton.
Popular historical Facebook page Lost Kootenays set to release book

128-page hard copy documenting history of East and West Kootenays coming this fall

Paul Chung is working as an early childhood educator at Cornerstone Children’s Centre in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Immigration pilot targets hard-to-fill jobs in West Kootenay

Program helps newcomers get permanent residency status in rural areas

Four homes in Johnson Flats were at serious risk of falling into a neighbourhood section of the Kettle River, according to capital project manager Justin Dinsdale. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks shields riverside homes against erosion

Crews have built a modified dike along a section of the Kettle River in Johnson Flats

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read