Furey says changes to cod catch are an 'affront' to N.L. in letter to federal fisheries minister

Andrew Furey is the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.  (Peter Cowan/CBC - image credit)
Andrew Furey is the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. (Peter Cowan/CBC - image credit)
Andrew Furey is the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Andrew Furey is the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey, pictured here in June, has criticized the federal government's recent changes to cod allocations, calling them an 'affront' to the province's fishing industry. (Peter Cowan/CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey, calling last week's changes to cod allocations an "affront," has told the federal fisheries minister that the province needs to have direct say over its own resources.

In a letter to Diane Lebouthillier, dated July 3, Furey says the provincial government is concerned about the changes, announced June 26.

"Changes that provide increased access to foreign fleets, coupled with the risk of overfishing, are an affront to the patience and commitment to stewardship demonstrated by the hardworking harvesters and processors of this province," says Furey in the letter, posted to X, formerly known as Twitter.

"The province simply cannot support fish being harvested by foreign countries at the expense of our own harvesters."

Furey's letter is the latest public rebuke by N.L.'s Liberal government — currently the only provincial Liberal administration in the country — of the federal Liberals.

Furey turned down a CBC request Thursday for an interview.

Last week, the federal government announced what it described as the ending of the northern cod moratorium — in reality, an increase to fishing activity that has been allowed in recent years. The total allowable catch this year will be 18,000 tonnes, up from 13,000 last year.

The announcement was met with scorn from the province's largest fishermen's union, with Fish, Food & Allied Workers president Greg Pretty saying the government had "completely and utterly failed" Newfoundland and Labrador.

The FFAW said most of the increase will go to offshore interests, contrary to a 1982 agreement that would see the first 115,000 tonnes — an amount not allowed since the moratorium was implemented in 1992 — allocated to the inshore fleet.

Latest public rebuke of federal Liberals

Furey's relationship with the federal Liberals has become more strained in recent months.

Furey has suggested two PC byelection wins this year are partly due to anger at his federal counterparts, over the cost of living in general and the carbon tax in particular. The provincial Liberals have also downplayed Liberal branding and the word "Liberal" itself in recent campaign signs.

For their part, Liberal MPs say last week's moratorium announcement was not politically motivated as an attempt to boost the party's flagging support in Newfoundland and Labrador, despite its involvement of all six of the province's Liberal MPs.

"It had nothing to do with the election, not that I'm aware of," said Avalon MP Ken McDonald, who has since announced he's not running for reelection, last week.

Furey's letter says he's raised his concerns with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"These decisions should not have been taken without consultation with stakeholders in Newfoundland and Labrador. The time has come for the province to have a direct say over our resources," he wrote, adding that there needs to be an immediate discussion on how the provincial and federal governments can "structure a joint management approach to the fishery."

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