A decision by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to deviate from an established halibut quota sharing arrangement will have a deep impact on fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador, and greatly benefit harvesters in Prince Edward Island, the home province of Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, a union leader says.

Keith Sullivan, president of the St. John's-based Fish, Food and Allied Workers' union, described the decision as a "callous, calculated and desperate" move by the federal Conservatives to win votes in the Maritime provinces.

"It's like taking bread from the table of hard-working Newfoundlanders and Labradorians just to buy votes in other parts of Canada," Sullivan said.

DFO has announced that the total allowable catch (TAC) for Atlantic halibut in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, known as NAFO Division 4RST, will increase by 20 per cent.

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