We have lost our fish­ery be­cause we have lost our souls

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

Dear edi­tor, In 1992, the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment placed a mora­to­rium on this prov­ince’s ground­fish­ery, but not on for­eign­ers fish­ing the same mi­grat­ing fish on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has cut shrimp quo­tas to our in­shore fish­ers, but not those of off­shore for­eign con­cerns. They have been cut­ting DFO science for some time on our fish­ery to where in­ad­e­quate in­for­ma­tion and lack of knowl­edge on fish stocks is now the norm.

The Harper gov­ern­ment passed an amend­ment to the NAFO con­ven­tion last year against the vote of Par­lia­ment which will now al­low Canada to in­vite for­eign­ers to fish in­side our 200-mile limit. Free trade talks are now un­der way which have NAFO na­tions talk­ing about more by­catches and quo­tas and trans­fers of fish quo­tas and fish­ing in­side our 200mile limit. The list goes on and on.

This begs the ques­tion: is there a fed­eral New­found­land and Labrador fish­eries agenda which de­nies our fish­ers their right to our ocean’s re­sources, while giv­ing that same re­source to for­eign jobs and NAFO fish­ing fleets? What are we do­ing about it? The premier said re­cently on the Fish­eries Broad­cast that our pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has no long-term fu­ture plan for the fish­ery. This is puz­zling when one con­sid­ers that the prov­ince has fu­ture plans for de­vel­op­ment and ex­plo­ration of our oil fields, for min­eral ex­plo­ration and pro­cess­ing, for re­dress­ing the Up­per Churchill, fu­ture long-term plans for Muskrat falls and the Lower Churchill, and as well for other in­dus­tries in our prov­ince. Plans for the fu­ture of our prov­ince in all ar­eas ex­cept the in­dus­try that sup­plies the most jobs and is most mean­ing­ful to our coastal way of life — the fish­ery.

Why is the fish­ery in iso­la­tion from all our other in­dus­tries, in that it is the only one that has no long-term plan for its fu­ture? The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has no plan for the fish­ery and does not pur­sue the fed­eral gov­ern­ment for the real wrongs it has done, and are at present do­ing, to our fish­ery. Is there any won­der that our fish­ery has dis­ap­peared be­fore us, pan­dered away, what lit­tle is left of it, by Ot­tawa, or given to for­eign­ers?

No mat­ter how you look at these facts, spin it, or what­ever kind of out-of-con­text, iso­lated, right­ful ar­gu­ment any of our gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials make to talk away the sit­u­a­tion of these stated truths … they are in to­tal fail­ure of not stand­ing up for the re­new­able, price­less fu­ture of our fish­eries.

They are com­mit­ting a mis­car­riage of jus­tice of not de­fend­ing now the ground­work nec­es­sary that would build a healthy fish­eries fu­ture and by not do­ing so are putting in peril the fu­ture wel­fare of gen­er­a­tions of coastal res­i­dents and their com­mu­ni­ties.

Per­haps some, es­pe­cially our fish­eries authorities, by now are sick of hear­ing this re­peated crit­i­cism of “what’s wrong with our fish­ery?” Oth­ers may say “it’s gone and never will come back.”

Well, be­fore you brush it off, read the fol­low­ing and then de­cide for your­self if our fish­ery is worth it. if it’s worth fight­ing for?

And re­mem­ber, our fish­ery has the po­ten­tial to be, and use to be, mush larger than Nor­way’s.

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