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Closure of N.L. marine refuge areas for fishing but not oil and gas rankles FFAW-Unifor

FFAW-Unifor president Keith Sullivan
FFAW-Unifor president Keith Sullivan

ST. JOHN’S, NL – The Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union is dismayed a call for bids for new oil and gas exploration off Newfoundland includes recently announced marine refuge areas that are closed to fishing activity.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) opened the call for bids on April 5.

“Any closures intended to focus on marine conservation must restrict all other marine industrial activities,” FFAW-Unifor president Keith Sullivan said in a news release.

“We cannot ask fish harvesters to accept the closure of an area to fishing activity in the name of conservation while continuing to allow oil and gas exploration in that same area.”

Sullivan said the continuation of oil and gas and seismic activity in the areas call into question whether the marine refuges will achieve their conservation goals.

The union also indicated new areas open to oil and gas exploration include fishing grounds that will affect fishing enterprises and suggested consultations with harvesters should be conducted before the bid process begins.

“It is time for the government to stand up for the people of our province who depend on the valuable and sustainable fisheries resources off our shore,” Sullivan said.

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