Shoe Cove fisher says people need help

Rudy Norman
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Ice conditions will mean no income for many

A Shoe Cove Fisherman is saying that people in his area are going to find it hard with the delayed opening of the snow crab season.

Glen Newbury says if the government doesn’t do something for snow crab fishers before ice conditions in Green Bay improve, then there’s going to be a lot of hungry mouths around.

Newbury, who is an executive member of the inshore council, says while they didn’t make the decision to recommend to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) that the inshore snow crab season in 3C not be opened until May 5, he was contacted by the inshore fish harvester’s committee and asked for input on the situation.

“It doesn’t really affect me, directly, because I fish in a different area; our season has been opened since the middle of April. Then again it doesn’t really matter because with all the ice in the harbour, you can’t get out there, anyways,” he said.

Newbury says he tried to get out sealing yesterday, but it was useless because of the ice conditions in La Scie and around the rest of Green Bay.

“There was just no way to do it,” he said. “When they called me and asked what I thought, I told them, to be honest I don’t see a dream of getting anywhere until the middle of May, and that’s going to be a long shot then.”

Newbury is one of the lucky ones – he still has an Employment Insurance claim to draw from because of the amount of fishing he did last year. However, he says he knows  a lot of people who are without an income now because their EI benefits are running out, and the season opening is delayed.

“Time is ticking and people are out of money,” he said. “Over the past few years, people have been fishing come the middle of April, so the majority of them out there, their EI is ran out now. Most people can probably to stand a couple of weeks, but now you’re talking about looking until the middle of May.”

Newbury feels Ottaw needs to step in and help the fishermen affected because of the conditions.

“I remember a few years ago they came out with it where your EI would be extended because there was just no way you could get out and go fishing because of all the ice.”

That year, he recalls, he was fishing lumpfish, and it was June before conditions were suitable to go fishing.

Newbury also owns a business in La Scie, and he says the local economy is also feeling the pinch.

“You’ve got people now who got problems paying their bills,” he said. “So you’ve got the grocery stores, the hardware and supply stores, the gas stations – they’re all feeling the effect of it too, because when there’s no money to go around, it can’t go around.”

Perhaps the only consolation fishers have, says Newbury, is knowing they’re not alone in the problems they’re experiencing.

“It’s not just one,” he said. “Everyone is going through the same thing – we’re all in the same boat.”

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Employment Insurance claim

Geographic location: Shoe Cove, La Scie, Green Bay

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