Re­serve in­shore fish quo­tas for fish­er­peo­ple

The Compass - - OPINION -

Dear ed­i­tor,

I am writ­ing an open let­ter to Fisheries and Oceans of­fi­cials from St. John’s to Ottawa to protest DFO’s past al­lo­ca­tions of in­shore fish re­sources to pro­ces­sors.

My action is spurred by re­cent ru­mors on The Fisheries Broad­cast that DFO may be con­sid­er­ing grant­ing a sub­stan­tial quota of caplin, or ad­di­tional quota, to a well-known pro­ces­sor on New­found­land’s west coast.

As a pro­fes­sional fish har­vester, a grand­fa­ther, and a New­found­lan­der pas­sion­ate about the fu­ture of our out­port com­mu­ni­ties, I urge you and the Depart­ment of Fisheries and Oceans, to re­serve the quo­tas of fish in the in­shore ar­eas of our prov­ince for the fish­er­peo­ple, their fam­i­lies and their com­mu­ni­ties.

The pro­ces­sors are able to make a more than a rea­son­able liv­ing buy­ing the fish­er­peo­ple’s catch and sell­ing it to the mar- kets of the world.

In­stead of be­ing sat­is­fied with this, how­ever, many pro­ces­sors’ greed will not be sat­is­fied un­til they have con­trol over both the har­vest­ing and pro­cess­ing sec­tor and to heck with the fish­er­men and their com­mu­ni­ties.

I see the grad­ual in­sid­i­ous in­tru­sion into the har­vest­ing sec­tor by greedy pro­ces­sors as the big­gest prob­lem fac­ing the sur­viv­abil­ity of in­shore fish­ers and their ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties to­day. I urge all com­mu­nity leaders across this prov­ince to re­al­ize the im­pli­ca­tions to lo­cal busi­nesses of the con­cen­tra­tion of wealth in a few hands - wealth that will be spent, not in New­found­land, but in the ex­otic hot spots of the world.

It is up to you folks at DFO to do the right thing-which is ob­vi­ously to re­serve the wealth of the sea for those who choose to be fish­er­peo­ple, and to spread that wealth as widely as pos­si­ble for the ben­e­fit of as many com­mu­ni­ties as pos­si­ble.

DFO’s own ra­tio­nal­iza­tion pol- icy is based on the premise that there are too many fish­er­peo­ple chas­ing too few fish. If this is in­deed the case, then cer­tainly ev­ery fish that is taken from the ocean should be taken by a pro­fes­sional, owner-har­vester,

cer­ti­fied by the Pro­fes­sional Fish Har­vesters Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Board.

I would ap­pre­ci­ate be­ing ap­prized of de­vel­op­ments in this re­gard, as my in­tent, if nec­es­sary, is to mo­bi­lize the fish­er­peo­ple of the prov­ince in mass demon­stra­tions against any in­jus­tice which will ul­ti­mately re­sult in the loss of the in­de­pen­dent fish­ers and their out­port com­mu­ni­ties.

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