We need a new ap­proach to the fish­ery

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

It seems there will be no change in the op­er­a­tion of our fish­ery. In­dus­try will con­tinue to mo­nop­o­lize it and its eco­nomic value be­cause gov­ern­ments refuse to sense the need to man­age the re­source.

They have dou­bly aban­doned their role of pro­tect­ing fish stocks and sup­port­ing thou­sands of coastal fish­ers and their com­mu­ni­ties.

The value of the fish­ery is not just in its eco­nomic worth of profit and the mar­ket­place, but more so in the worth it gives fish­ers, their fam­i­lies and our coastal so­ci­ety.

In 1854, Chief Seat­tle made the great­est state­ment of its kind in re­sponse to the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment’s at­tempt to buy their lands.

To Chief Seat­tle, all the mem­bers of his tribe were his chil­dren and the land the source of their strength. The grass­land winds and wa­ter­falls were the mu­sic that lulled their ba­bies to sleep; the thun­der of hooves gave braves ex­cite­ment for the com­ing hunt. How could this be priced and sold?

It was not just the buy­ing and sell­ing of land, it would be the buy­ing and sell­ing of beauty, se­cu­rity, op­por­tu­nity, the fu­ture of an­other gen­er­a­tion who could pro­tect and pro­vide for them when they be­came old.

The land then was the very be­ing of their life, life it­self.

This is what the fish­ery means to New­found­land and Labrador - not just per­sonal or cor­po­rate money and power.

To coastal peo­ple, the sea is their teacher, and the beauty of the coast a place of op­por­tu­nity, the builder of char­ac­ter, the finder of souls and provider of fam­i­lies.

To those whose do­min­ion it is to pro­tect us and our fish­ery, we wish to say we don’t understand that the stocks of fish that were once ours are gone, we don’t know why the hum and hustle of our har­bours and coves have dis­ap­peared.

Where is the making of our child­hood sea­men? Gone. Where are the jour­neys to the fish­ing grounds that once were the builders of our per­se­ver­ance and self-reliance? Gone. Where is the great con­fi­dence of pur­pose and abil­ity and sense of god­li­ness the sea once gave to our peo­ple? Gone. This is what is be­ing sold, the birth right and foun­da­tion of our iden­tity.

Like the Plains In­di­ans in the 1800s whose pur­pose was the land, the moun­tains and the prairies, for the coastal fish­ers of New­found­land and Labrador our pur­pose for 500 years has been the sea.

De­stroy­ing the fish and tak­ing it from us will de­stroy us be­cause it will de­stroy our pur­pose.

Will our new gov­ern­ments see this truth? It is in their power to af­fect a change to stop the de­struc­tion of the fish­ery and pro­tect our peo­ple.

Gen­er­a­tions will come and gen­er­a­tions will go but the sea will abide for­ever.

Then can we, the peo­ple of Canada, find re­spect in our­selves for her and ap­pre­ci­ate how our fish­ers can have a sus­tain­able har­vest from her re­new­able bounty?

To those whose do­min­ion it is to pro­tect us and our fish­ery, we wish to say we don’t understand that the stocks of fish that were once ours are gone, we don’t know why the hum and hustle of our har­bours and coves have dis­ap­peared.

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