The federal government is changing the way they interpret a regulation that has been in place for over 40 years, making it impossible for fish harvesters to sell frozen-at-sea spot prawns to a local, domestic market. The commercial spot prawn industry is a sustainable fishery, garnering $45 million each year. With no consultation, and only a few months notice this change has effectively cut off the market for local BC prawns.
DFO’s decision, in the middle of the pandemic, is adding more strife for fish harvesters, who are already facing huge market challenges. Wholesale prices for prawn have dropped more than 50% since COVID-19 hit in 2020, and many prawn harvesters have tried to recover their losses by selling their catch locally. Remote coastal communities are also experiencing barriers to local seafood access, as most of the fish and seafood being caught is shipped and sold internationally. This sudden change in regulation puts the livelihoods of prawn harvesters, their families, as well as coastal economies and local food security at risk.
Harvesters need the support of their communities behind them. We are asking you to sign the petition linked below to urge DFO to reconsider this decision and support this sustainable fishery and all those who are a part of it!