Fishery needs long-term planning
The Newfoundland and Labrador (Atlantic) fishery has been turned upside down and is spinning on its head. Last fall’s bust in the global economy has affected all industries and communities in ‘ developed’ nations around the world, and the fishery is not immune.
The automobile industry is not the ‘only’ industry in Canada but listen to any newscast, flip through any newspaper or hear the debates on the floor of the House of Commons in Ottawa and it’s the primary industry currently on the tip of everyone’s tongue.
The fishery on all fronts in this province is being impacted – it started with this year’s seal harvest, the annual spring crab fishery, the lobster fishery and now the shrimp fishery.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of inshore fishermen and even more fish plant workers are slipping through the cracks of the global recession.
Premier Danny Williams vows fishery workers will not be wanting for ‘ bread on their tables’ this year; and Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea has announced a $65 million lobster relief program – however, only $15 million is actually going to assist fishermen in all five eastern provinces.
The FFAW and fishermen claim this is not enough and governments, the federal government in particular, do not realize the seriousness of the state of the industry overall.
A stronger Canadian dollar and weakening markets are all having an impact on the fishing industry as a whole.
People in this country and beyond have lost their jobs, their homes, and families and just don’t have the money to spend anymore.
Newfoundland and Labrador has always had a cushion of six months to a year, due to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, before the impact of happenings elsewhere occur in this province. Those tragic losses experienced in the U.S., and in Ontario and Alberta’s job markets are now filtering down to here.
The fishery, which has been the mainstay of this province’s economy for hundreds of years, has fallen into a crisis situation just as the automobile industry has; the U.S. housing market has; the oil industry has (on a lesser scale).
Canadian and U.S. governments are throwing billions of dollars at the automobile industry to help companies and individuals ride out this recession. Fishery workers have the same needs and should be eligible for the same type of assistance.
It was the federal government’s poor management strategy of the fishery that fostered the raw material crisis of the 90s; it’s now the global recession that is forcing markets to disappear.
Governments will have get together and wrap their heads around a long term plan for the fishing industry, to lessen and perhaps reduce the recurrence of a crisis/boom cycle that the industry has become a victim of, too many times.