NunatuKavut calls for no re-issuance of Clearwater licences; demands reconciliation and fairness in the fishery
HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, LABRADOR, MARCH 23, 2021 – The NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC) is raising serious concerns around the possible re-issuance of northern shrimp licences off the coast of Labrador in NunatuKavut following the pending purchase of Clearwater Foods by a coalition of First Nations in Atlantic Canada and Premium Brands Holdings. This was echoed by NunatuKavut fishers during a Special Forum on Fisheries hosted by NCC last week to discuss the looming crisis in the fishery in Labrador.
NCC and NunatuKavut fishers jointly call on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to refrain from approving the re-issuance of the Clearwater licences to the new business entity. The decision around the transfer of these licences should be based on the accepted resource allocation principles of adjacency, Indigenous rights, cultural attachment and economic need (which is now more dire). It is evident that NCC and its fishers continue to bear the brunt of deep quota cuts and historically low allocations as a result of poor management decisions being made by DFO. These concerns were also outlined in a recent letter to DFO Minister Jordan.
At NCC’s Annual General Assembly in February, a resolution was unanimously passed that called on the Government of Canada, more specifically DFO, to begin talks with NCC on fair and equitable access to its adjacent fisheries. It also asks DFO to set in place action plans, policies and response programs to not only address immediate impacts but resuscitate and help grow the fishery and expeditiously resolve generations of inequity.
The Inuit of NunatuKavut are deeply connected to the land, sea and ice that make up NunatuKavut. Increased access, fair participation and sustained growth in the fishery is vital to the livelihood, health and well-being of NunatuKavut communities.
“NunatuKavut Inuit have a longstanding connection to our resources and the fishery off our territory. It is so much a part of who we are – our history and future. We are at a critical point and we want to work with our fishers to help build a plan that will sustain us and our communities, for now and for future generations. But this cannot happen unless DFO lives up to its commitments to Indigenous reconciliation and fair allocation principles. Change is possible when we work together to build a strong fishery in NunatuKavut.” — Todd Russell, NCC President
- NCC is the representative governing body for approximately 6,000 Inuit who reside primarily in south and central Labrador.
- NunatuKavut means “Our Ancient Land” in Inuttitut and is the traditional territory of the Inuit who belong to this territory.
- In July 2018, NCC entered into talks with the Government of Canada on the Recognition of its Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination (RIRSD). In September 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed.
- Further information on NCC can be found at www.nunatukavut.ca. Please also join in the conversation at Facebook.com/nunatukavut, Twitter @nunatukavut and YouTube by searching NunatuKavut.
Director of Communications