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A Principle-Based Analysis of Multilevel Policy Areas on Inshore Fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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Part of the MARE Publication Series book series (MARE,volume 13)


Small-scale fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador have been shaped by multiple institutions and policies occurring at various scales. Some of these institutions and policies present opportunities, while others pose threats to the sustainability and the viability of this inshore fishery, a sector already facing a grim decline. This chapter analyzes contemporary policy areas at three different scales (provincial, national and transatlantic) and assesses their likely effects on the future of the small-scale fisheries and the rural communities who depend on it. Utilizing the governability perspective focusing on ‘meta-level’ governance, the governing principles embedded in these policy areas are given particular attention in the analysis. The discussion generates a set of questions that need to be considered in moving forward with the governance of the small-scale inshore sector in Newfoundland and Labrador. We argue that these inquiries are also crucial for charting the overall direction of the fishing industry in the province as a whole.


  • Governance principle
  • Fisheries policy
  • CETA
  • Direct fish sales
  • Fleet self-rationalization
  • Inshore fisheries
  • Newfoundland and Labrador

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-17034-3_23
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  1. 1.

    According to the federal policy on commercial fishing licenses for the Atlantic region, vessels less than 65 ft Length Over All are considered inshore fleets. However, in most contemporary policy and industry discourse in Newfoundland and Labrador, these inshore enterprises are further divided into an “inshore sector” that fishes in inshore waters (with vessel length under 35 ft) and a “nearshore sector” that operates in nearshore waters (with vessels between 35 and 65 ft). While this paper focuses on the inshore fisheries in general, we give a particular emphasis on the smaller scale fishers, operating in inshore waters with vessel length less than 35 ft. Following a policy change in 2007, the vessel length limit of this category was extended from 35 to 40 ft in order to reflect the trends of targeting species found further offshore (Gov. of NL, April 12, 2007a).

  2. 2.

    The distinction of “core group” of fishers was created in 1996 as part of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Licensing Policy reform. A core fisher status is granted when the following criteria are met: be the head of an enterprise, hold key licenses, have an attachment to and be dependent on the fishery (DFO 1996).

  3. 3.

    In total, the small-scale inshore sector in 2013 is estimated to comprise 2,493 enterprises and contains roughly 6,000 registered fishing vessels under 40 ft in length (DFO 2014; May 2014).

  4. 4.

    Boats between 45 and 65 ft in length in this case.

  5. 5.

    FFAW is now fully known as FFAW/Unifor. Unifor was created by the 2013 merger of the Canadian Auto Workers, of which FFAW was a member, and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

  6. 6.

    A recent policy paper on the future of small- and medium-scale fisheries and coastal communities in Newfoundland and Labrador also stresses the importance of principles and heavily relies on them to formulate policy recommendations (see Neis and Ommer 2014).

  7. 7.

    The report from this 2010 study, which finally appeared on the DFA website in September 2014, recommended that the province partially allow direct sales (see Eric Dunne Consulting Initiatives 2010).

  8. 8.

    Independent Core is the category assigned to the head of a Core enterprise who is not party to certain “controlling trust agreements” with a person, corporation or other entity with respect to the licences issued in his or her name. The purpose of the creation of this category is to protect inshore fishers’ control over the decision to request a “transfer” of licenses they hold. The implication is that anyone who is in a controlling agreement will not have their licence renewed. This measure thus aims to further strengthen the independence of the inshore fleet (under 65 ft in length) protected by the Owner-operator and Fleet Separation policies in effect since the 1970s (DFO 2007).

  9. 9.

    For more on this ‘making of self-managing fishers’ in the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery context, see Bavington (2011) chapter 5.

  10. 10.

    Current duties on frozen shrimp, cooked and peeled shrimp, and snow crab are 12 %, 20 %, and up to a rate of 8 %, respectively (Gov. of Canada, September 26, 2014).

  11. 11.

    A temporary exemption was, however, approved, as mentioned in the previous section.


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We thank two anonymous reviewers for their insightful feedback on an earlier draft of this chapter. If any errors remain, they are the sole responsibility of the authors.

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Correspondence to Andrew M. Song .

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Song, A.M., Chuenpagdee, R. (2015). A Principle-Based Analysis of Multilevel Policy Areas on Inshore Fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. In: Jentoft, S., Chuenpagdee, R. (eds) Interactive Governance for Small-Scale Fisheries. MARE Publication Series, vol 13. Springer, Cham.

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