N.L. fisherman's hunger strike ends in hospital
Published Sunday, April 23, 2017 8:40PM EDT
A Newfoundland fisherman’s hunger strike ended Sunday with an ambulance taking him to hospital, though his supporters say their fight is far from finished.
“I almost lost my son there today,” Richard Gillett’s father, John Gillett, told reporters on Sunday. “He’s fighting for everybody – he’s not fighting for himself.”
For 11 days, Richard Gillett, 45, had been camping in front of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) building in St. John's, subsisting only on water to protest the province’s declining fish stocks and reduced quotas. Gillett, who serves as the vice-president of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) and appeared on three seasons of the reality TV show "Cold Water Cowboys," had been demanding an in-person meeting with Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc as well as an independent review of how the province’s fish stocks are managed.
Weak and clutching his head, Gillett was loaded onto an ambulance Sunday as his supporters applauded.
“Joyce, his wife, made the call,” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary told reporters. “I’m glad it’s over.”
Cleary said that while this battle might be done, the fight has only just begun.
“One good thing about all this is that I think that… people are waking up right across the country,” Cleary said. “The state of Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries is an embarrassment to Canada and it has to change. Fishermen have had enough.”
John Gillet told reporters that he was proud of his son as Richard was taken away.
“He’s a Newfoundlander and a fighting Newfoundlander,” the elder Gillett said. “This province could be the richest province in Canada with the resources we’ve got, and what do we get done? We get it all taken away from us.”
With files from CTV News Channel and The Canadian Press