Reserve inshore fish quotas for fisherpeople
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.