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

Grand Forks Fire/Rescue volunteers attack a hillside fire from top to bottom Tuesday, May 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Brushfire erupts at rural West Kootenay home

No one was hurt in the fire, according to Grand Forks/Fire Rescue

Grand Forks Fire/Rescue volunteers doused a hillside fire late Monday night, May 17. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks Fire/Rescue puts out hillside fire

No one was injured after a campfire got out of control below Columbia Drive

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

Map: BCWildfire Service
UPDATE: Human-caused wildfire burning near Castlegar

The McCormick Creek fire started Sunday

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

A thunderstorm pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fire

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
B.C. teen’s 23,000-name Coastal GasLink petition gets him an audience with the minister

15-year-old Saanich high school student and George Heyman discussed project for about 30 minutes

Most Read