PC Announcement on Fishery Cuts Out Vast Majority of Manitoba Fishers - Again

March 25, 2022

Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberals say the Manitoba Government is still making huge changes to the oversight and science of Manitoba's fisheries with no consultation with Manitoba's largest group of commercial fishers - the Pioneer Commercial Fishers of Manitoba (PCFM).

The PCs announced that they will be "investing $2.5 million to establish and implement programs that support the sustainability and certification of Manitoba's fisheries in partnership with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)".

PCFM represent fishers in every community on Lake Winnipeg, with the exception of Norway House, Hollow Water, and Fisher River. The vast majority of fishers are Indigenous - both First Nations and Métis. The Lake Winnipeg fishery alone generates $90-million, but has been completely left out of the announcement.

Lamont said the participation of IISD was a step in the right direction because it would finally mean that independent science may finally be applied to Manitoba's fisheries, but that more needs to be done to support the fishers and communities that are being driven under by the way the PCs manage the fishery, and quota buybacks.

"There was a public promise from this government that no changes would be made without consultation, and that promise has been broken again and again," said Dougald Lamont, Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party, and MLA for St Boniface. "We need a sustainable fishery, and we need a plan to make sure that can happen, and doesn't just involve telling First Nations fishers they can't fish anymore, because it puts the economy of entire communities at risk."

Einar Sveinson of the PCFM said his organization has been trying to meet with the PCs to discuss their issues for months, only to find out through a press release that major changes were being made without consultation.

"There are communities and co-ops that have been losing money for two years under the PCs, and they are still planning to buy back quotas, which mean that people will never fish again," said Sveinson. "To work this out, fishers need to sit down with the government and an independent third party, and that still hasn't happened."


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