Is our fate sealed?

That’s the thanks we get for help­ing lib­er­ate Europe

The Compass - - OPINION -

Dear ed­i­tor,

On March 2, I at­tended a seal­ers’ meet­ing in Baie Verte, spon­sored by the Fur In­sti­tute of Canada.

We were dis­cussing how to make the seal hunt more hu­mane and more ac­cept­able to the Euro­pean Union where there is a pro­posed ban on the im­por­ta­tion of seal prod­ucts trans­ported through their coun­tries.

Half­way through the meet­ing we got the bad news that the fight was go­ing against us and the ban could go into ef­fect this year.

Th­ese are coun­tries where thou­sands of our peo­ple gave their lives for the free­dom they have to­day. I had two un­cles who fought in the Sec­ond World War, one of whom did not re­turn. And now th­ese same coun­tries are be­ing ma­nip­u­lated by a bunch of so called do-good­ers that are spread­ing a bunch of lies as they have been do­ing for 20 years. No one over there wants to know the truth. Now they are turn­ing against us with this ban.

The other bad news I heard Fri­day, March 6, which was no sur­prise to me, is that a lot of our cod stocks are at an all time low.

Th­ese two events are very much tied to­gether.

There are two main preda­tors in the ocean on the east coast of Canada. Man is the largest fol­lowed by seals.

Prior to 1980 there was a bal­ance in the ocean with the harp seal herd at ap­prox­i­mately 2.2 mil­lion. In the 1980s, be­cause of the anti seal­ing groups our seal­ing in­dus­try was shut down for a pe­riod of ap­prox 20 years. In that length of time the harp seal pop­u­la­tion ex­ploded to ap­prox­i­mately six mil­lion. We still don’t know how much the hood pop­u­la­tion has grown and DFO has shut that down com­pletely.

Be­cause of quo­tas set by the Cana­dian Gov­ern­ment, when the seal mar­ket did come back we were never able to re­duce the seal pop­u­la­tion.

With the ex­plo­sion in the harp seal herd, no hunt­ing for the hood seal, and the ex­plo­sion in the gray seal, we have way too many seals. Now with a pro­posed ban in the Euro­pean Union, we could very well lose the seal hunt, which would have dis­as­trous ef­fects on our de­pleted fish stocks and have dire con­se­quences, which could see the end of a com­mer­cial fish­ery on the East Coast of Canada.

We are sur­viv­ing mostly on lob­ster, crab and shrimp.

The seals did not put us in the predica­ment we are in now — we have over fished our oceans world­wide. In Canada we have fished heav­ily the her­ring and caplin, the main species the harp seal feeds on and the seal be­ing a preda­tor will eat what­ever is avail­able. Now with our oceans be­ing over fished so heav­ily com­bined with an ever-in­creas­ing seal pop­u­la­tion, I don’t be­lieve the ocean can re­cover without re­mov­ing some of the preda­tors.

It has come down to a choice, man or seal. My choice would be to re­duce the seals. I know it’s go­ing to be hard to get the pow­ers that be to un­der­stand. There are peo­ple in gov­ern­ment in this prov­ince who will still ar­gue the coy­ote is not de­stroy­ing our cari­bou herds, al­though the proof is there that since the coy­ote ap­peared on this is­land the herds are dis­ap­pear­ing.

There are also peo­ple in the Cana­dian Gov­ern­ment that be­lieve seals don’t eat cod. As the late Capt. Mor­ris­sey John­son used to say,“they don’t eat turnips.”

If we as vot­ers and politi­cians don’t stand up and do some­thing to rec­tify the bal­ance of na­ture in our oceans, the North­east Coast of Canada is go­ing to die be­cause we don’t have enough other re­new­able re­sources to sus­tain us. Not only will the East Coast of Canada suf­fer but so will the rest of the world be­cause we will have al­lowed to be de­stroyed the great­est bread bas­ket in the world and without bread we can­not sur­vive.

This is the time for all politi­cians to stand up and be counted. The time for lip ser­vice is over, its time for action.

I can be reached by email: wil­f­bartlett@hot­

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