This island; a place of belonging
A recent study by American scientists shows that global fisheries, including those in Canada, can be sustained by following a community/fishers based co-management model. This gives positive weight to a number of letters that have been submitted to your paper particularly since the announcement of a memorandum of understanding ( MOU) process by then fisheries minister Tom Hedderson in July 2009.
The main point of those letters was that all sectors in our fishery, including communities, fishers, scientists and the federal government, must join the dialogue with a future vision for the fishery — a working plan that will restore and sustain a successful future resource.
To this point our provincial government must exert a leadership to where there has been little, in particular having a stronger influence over an industry that uses the stocks as it’s own property.
The province must set an exaAmple and the policies that will protect and restore the resource for the good of all it’s benefactors; coastal peoples, communities, all fishing sectors, our province and the nation. We must see the future potential of this great renewable resource, work toward protecting it, and above all work to save it form one of it’s greatest problems: the industry itself.
If they took this leadership role, even to a new Fisheries Act, it would show Ottawa, and our province, that they mean business. Is not the reason why we have a democratic system of governance in this country to govern for the people? Truth will always stand on it’s own, shining a beacon into the future.
If we can act from truth with the intention of doing right, we cannot be faulted. The future would then vindicate our efforts, ones based on a sound vision, a future plan for the fishery. A plan which, if followed, would result in a restored multi-species resource with a renewable, prosperous harvest.
If we continue appeasing our industry as we are doing now our legacy will be of a forsaken heritage and our abandonment of it’s future potential for our children. All this, on our watch, while doing nothing to stop the final destruction of the greatest fishery the world has ever known.
Where is the resilient, self-reliant character given to us by our seafaring forefathers? Where is the ingenuity and undaunted spirit of our coastal people which made us for so long masters of the seven seas and masters of our own destiny?
In the harshest of conditions our forefathers made a home on this barren, rugged coastline in the only humanly way it could be done: with an unconditioned passion for life. They created this beautiful place for themselves, their children and their children’s children.
Their embracing spirit resonates from the graveyards of the hills that surrounds every harbour and cove along our shoreline. It is not a resonance of death, it is a resonance of life within us … a spirit that is inextricably entangled, as one, with the inebriate North Atlantic that cradles, and surrounds, us.
To abandon this spirit and the untamed coastal places of it’s beauty and birth is to abandon ourselves, our own hearts. If we do nothing to stop the tragic destruction that is now unfolding in our fishery we will never have a future home. We will never again be able to find peace within our hearts.
And yet also, if that happens, at the hands of some who will have gained the world while losing their own souls, what good will it do them?
Phil Earle Carbonear