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

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

(Jonathan Kempe / Unsplash)
The Quest: Part 2, Adrian

The Student Journal showcases the work of the local high schoolers.

File photo
Police respond to reports of suspicious visitors in Vavenby

Clearwater RCMP responded to 54 calls for service this past week.

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Most Read