Big­ger fish to fry

Northern Pen - - EDITORIAL -

The catch and re­lease vs. re­ten­tion de­bate this past sum­mer of­fered the NL Lib­er­als the per­fect pub­lic dis­trac­tion from a huge aqua­cul­ture pro­posal.

In al­most the same breath, they have ac­cused the fed­eral gov­ern­ment of not lis­ten­ing to an­glers — while ap­peal­ing a rul­ing by the Supreme Court of NL to re­quire an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact state­ment for what would be the largest salmon aqua­cul­ture project in Canada.

Such a project would have “both sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic con­cerns, and the po­ten­tial for sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fects” ac­cord­ing to Jus­tice Gil­lian But­ler.

The project has been very un­pop­u­lar amongst an­gler groups; how­ever, the pro­vin­cial Lib­er­als wish to by­pass the very process by which stake­hold­ers (like an­glers) can voice their con­cerns. Con­trary to what might anec­do­tally have been in­di­cated this salmon sea­son past, there are big­ger fish to fry than catch and re­lease vs. re­ten­tion an­gling.

On a side note: I pre­dict the peo­ple who were dis­miss­ing the At­lantic Salmon Fed­er­a­tion this past sum­mer as elit­ists will now be look­ing to that group to step up to the plate — once again — for At­lantic salmon.

What has been lost in the anger? NL an­glers are too worked up — by each other — to even feel how sad this all is. Time will tell if an­glers will be able to unite be­hind a greater cause or con­tinue to sense­lessly bicker over small pota­toes.

Colin Mur­ray is a N.L. na­tive study­ing for a master’s de­gree in coastal and marine man­age­ment at the Univer­sity of the West­fjords in Ice­land.

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