Crab harvesters on the Avalon Peninsula in Canada are calling out Exxon Mobil for their operations in the Jeanne d’Arc Basin, as they are in direct conflict with traditional prime fishing grounds.
Exxon and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB), the Canadian regulatory body, proceeded with drill operations during peak fishing time—despite vocal opposition from the Fish, Food and Allied Worker Union (FFAW-Unifor) throughout the consultation process.
“Our members feel this brewing spatial conflict is representative of the continuous disregard for the fishing industry,” FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty said in a press release. “Expansion of the oil and gas industry needs to be considered alongside the fishery, not in priority to it.”
FFAW-Unifor, the union that represents all professional fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador, is opposed to Exxon Mobil’s usage of their Hercules drilling rig, especially in what the FFAW-Unifor called “a difficult year for harvesters,” in a press release.
“Time and time again our historical fishing rights have not been factored into the oil and gas growth equation,” Nelson Bussey, 3L fish harvester and FFAW-Unifor executive board member, said. “The C-NLOPB has allowed offshore exploration activities to occur in areas with significant recent history of intensive fishing effort.”
FFAW-Unifor is calling for an overhaul in the planning and procedures within the C-NLOPB amongst offshore operators.
“The continuous disregard for our industry can happen no more,” Pretty said. “Harvesters are extremely frustrated and feel an at-sea protest may be the only way forward in sending the message our membership will not allow the C-NLOPB to enable one industry growth at the expense of another.”
Exxon Mobil did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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