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Nunavut fisheries win more shrimp

Michele LeTourneau
Northern News Services
Monday, November 7, 2016

Nunavut fishers will have access to 1,084 tonnes more northern shrimp for 2016-2017.

"This increase in Nunavut's shrimp fishing allocations is reflective of the Government of Nunavut's longstanding position that 100 percent of any fisheries quota increase in adjacent waters must go to Nunavut until we reach an equitable share of our adjacent resources," Environment minister Joe Savikataaq told the legislative assembly Oct. 31.

The importance of the Northern shrimp fishery to Nunavummiut came to a head this past June, when Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson called Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Last In, First Out policy - introduced in 2003 - discriminatory against Nunavut commercial fishing operations.

The policy failed to recognize provisions in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement which require the federal government to ensure a fair distribution of fisheries licences between residents of the Nunavut Settlement Area and other residents of Canada.

Nunavut fishers received a quota of less than 38 per cent of the total allowable catch in their waters. Meanwhile, commercial fishers in other Canadian jurisdictions hold 80 to 95 per cent of the quotas in water adjacent to their place of origin. That means a vast majority of Northern shrimp in Arctic water off the coast of Nunavut is being caught by commercial fishers from other places.

The rise in quota means a 15 per cent increase to the previous 38 per cent of the total allowable catch.

"This increase holds a current market value of approximately $5 million, increasing the total value of Nunavut's shrimp resources to $43.5 million," Savikataaq said.

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