We have lost our fishery because we have lost our souls
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.