Alistair MacGregor, MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, said new regulations governing the spot prawn industry will financially hurt B.C.’s prawn fishers. (File photo)

Alistair MacGregor, MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, said new regulations governing the spot prawn industry will financially hurt B.C.’s prawn fishers. (File photo)

Island MP wants parliamentary inquiry into sudden prawn fishery changes

DFO has made the sale of frozen-at-sea spot prawns potentially illegal

Alistair MacGregor wants the federal government to hold a parliamentary inquiry on the decision by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to change regulations regarding the harvesting of spot prawns.

MacGregor, MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, has sent a letter to Ken McDonald, chairman of the government’s Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, asking for an emergency review of changes to the regulations.

“At a time when B.C. residents are looking to support local food producers by enjoying the seafood caught right off our shores, the federal government is actively making that more difficult,” MacGregor said.

“I look forward to my letter being addressed with the urgency it demands at upcoming committee hearings.”

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

Without any consultation or notice and just shortly before the beginning of this year’s spot prawn season, the DFO has made the sale of frozen-at-sea spot prawns potentially illegal, which could effectively stop the sale of all frozen spot-prawns to Canadian markets.

DFO’s objection to freezing spot prawns 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.

In B.C., about 2,450 metric tonnes of spot prawns are harvested annually, with about 65 per cent coming from the waters between Vancouver Island and the Mainland, and many prawn fishers reside in McGregor’s riding.

After learning that the DFO has changed the regulation, MacGregor and Vancouver Island NDP MPs Gord Johns and Rachel Blaney met with the BC Prawn Industry Caucus, which protects and defends the interests of the province’s commercial prawn harvesters, to discuss the potentially devastating impacts the new regulation would have on west coast prawn fishers.

RELATED STORY: HERRING RUN NOW UNDERWAY IN PARKSVILLE QUALICUM BEACH REGION

MacGregor said the amended DFO regulation comes after decades of prawn fishing without any significant violations of catch guidelines.

He said that instead of taking a proactive and innovative approach to improving food security, the DFO’s decision will make things worse.

“If the sale of frozen-at-sea prawns is made illegal, B.C.’s spot prawn harvesters will be unable to earn an income in an industry they’ve invested so much in, and over 600 families will be seriously impacted,” MacGregor said.

“This will also disrupt our coastal communities’ wishes to support our locally based commercial fishers. This [Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans] plays an important role in holding DFO and the minister to account, and I believe they must be made to answer for this decision through a parliamentary inquiry.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Fisheries law

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

Just Posted

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees in Oyster Bay

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

Ladysmith’s Taylor Walters received the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award and is hard at work pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction at Quest University. (Submitted photo)
Ladysmith teen receives Terry Fox Humanitarian Award for advocating equal access to STEM opportunities

‘Different people think differently and that’s so important for innovation,’ Taylor Walters says

A vehicle is totalled after a driver crashed into the side of a tow truck outside Central Island Towing. (Cole Schisler photo)
Car totalled after colliding with the back of a tow truck in Ladysmith

Nobody was injured, but repairs on the tow truck are expected to cost thousands of dollars

Chemainus Art Group creates mural mosaic to celebrate a joyful spring. (Photo submitted)
Art group members celebrate a joyful spring in Chemainus

Each of 33 squares pushed together into one mural

A police car at the scene of a child’s death Friday, April 9, at the Falcon Nest Motel in Duncan. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
RCMP investigating child’s death at Duncan’s Falcon Nest Motel

First responders attended to a call about an unresponsive child at the… Continue reading

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read