Thursday, December 16, 2021

Petition Push underway to have DFO reverse plans for Frozen at Sea Spot Prawn industry

A proposal from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to restrict the practice of prawn tubbing to a container one third the size currently used is making for some push back from the Seafood industry, which once again is finding itself at odds with the Federal Ministry.

As part of their information campaign to reverse the Federal government's plans Industry advocates have outlined how the new measure will impact the industry and perhaps even put it in peril.

The proposal includes restricting prawn tubbing to tiny, 8 fl oz containers, one-third the size of the typical 24 fl oz containers. This will double the amount of plastic waste, and increase labour, fuel, and other costs for harvesters, while achieving nothing — tubs of prawns will still need to be thawed to be inspected!

To take action they have crafted a letter for residents of the region to sing onto and direct to their MP, in the case of the North Coast to Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach, the document noting of the importance of the industry to Coastal British Columbia and providing concern over the lack of consultation by DFO with industry participants.

You can find out more about the initiative here.

The issue of freezing at sea came about earlier this year as DFO had concerns over the ability for inspection offices to properly inspect a catch, though as the collective fighting to save their industry notes that is a situation that can be resolved with just five minutes of defrosting.

DFOʼs objection to freezing spot prawns is in reference to a reinterpretation of the regulation requiring all harvested products be “readily available” for measurement. Spot prawns are routinely inspected by enforcement while live on sorting tables before being frozen. A tub of spot prawns can be defrosted in under five minutes if further inspection is requested.

DFO has previously held off on their plans, in March of 2021 we noted of the push back from the industry participants and how the Federal Department had delayed their plans later that yearthough seemingly they now are back in motion.

Among those participating in the information campaign heading into 2022 are the Prawn Industry Caucus (PIC), United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union (UFAWU), and Native Fishing Association (NFA). 

They are joined in the efforts by Skipper Otto, T Buck Suzuki, Fisheries for Communities and ecotrust Canada.

Learn more about their work to overturn the DFO measures here.

Further notes on the Fishery on the North Coast can be explored here.

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