OTTAWA, ONTARIO - Conservative Critic for Fisheries and Oceans, Mark Strahl, issued the following statement today in response to the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Panel on the Last In, First Out (LIFO) policy for the northern shrimp fishery:
“The LIFO Panel's composition and process should have been rejected by Minister Leblanc as soon as he took over the portfolio from Minister Hunter Tootoo, and the Panel’s recommendations should be rejected immediately.
“It is clear from the recommendations that the Panel was created for the sole purpose of providing former Minister Tootoo with the answer he wanted - not to provide an unbiased and objective assessment of shrimp fishery policy.
“The Panel has a number of biases, including the composition of its members. Three of the four Panel members were from Newfoundland and Labrador - a province opposed to the continuation of LIFO. There was not a single Maritimer on the Panel, in spite of the importance of the offshore northern shrimp fishery to the economies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI.
“Of the seven public meetings held by the Panel, only one took place in Nova Scotia, and no meetings were held in PEI or New Brunswick. Clearly the interests of shrimp fishery workers in the Maritimes were not fairly considered.
“Minister Leblanc must acknowledge that the Panel was biased and unbalanced, did not take into full consideration the importance of the offshore fishery, and that the recommendations represent a betrayal of those who built the fishery.”