The public gallery in the House of Assembly had to be cleared today after fish harvesters responded loudly to discussions in the Legislature related to their concerns over changes to allocations in the 3L area.
The harvesters moved on to Confederation Building this afternoon in time for Question Period after protesting first at DFO and then the Sheraton Hotel.
In the Legislature, guests in the public gallery are supposed to remain silent, but the harvesters responded loudly to provincial fisheries minister Derek Bragg who was responding to a petition presented by Bonavista MHA Craig Pardy.
Minister Derek Bragg got a huge response from the gallery, forcing the temporary closure of the legislature. Minister Bragg said there is a process that must be followed, which resulted in loud protests from the gallery, forcing the Speaker to ask that the gallery be cleared.
A protest outside the DFO in the White Hills this morning moved to the Sheraton Hotel over the lunch hour where crab price negotiations were being held.
Protesters entered the hotel vowed not to let anyone in or out until union executives came out to speak with them, but when they entered the ballroom where negotiations were supposed to have been taking place, they found the room empty.
Harvesters say holding negotiations now amounts to putting the cart before the horse because they can’t access the same amount of quota as they once did thanks to changes in allocations in area 3L.
They’ve returned to the Sheraton where protests began on Monday.
Earlier Story: Harvesters Block Entrance to DFO to Protest Crab Allocations in 3L
Protestors are blocking the entrance and they have even hoisted a crab pot from the flag pole outside DFO offices in the White Hills in frustration over changes to crab allocations in area 3L.
Crab harvesters converged on the Sheraton Hotel in St. John’s on Monday and then moved on to MP Seamus O’Regan’s office to have their concerns about the precautionary approach taken to crab allocations in the area that they say leave inshore harvesters with far less stock to fish.
Harvesters say they’re dissatisfied with the response from federal government officials to their concerns.
Changes are not likely this fishing season and that’s not sitting well with harvesters who rely on the lucrative fishing.