Crocker ready to tackle fish­ery

New min­is­ter un­der­stands sec­tor’s im­por­tance to lo­cal econ­omy

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY MELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

The new­est provin­cial gov­ern­ment cab­i­net has been sworn in, with a lo­cal MHA tasked to act in the best in­ter­ests of an im­por­tant sec­tor to ru­ral New­found­land and Labrador.

Steve Crocker has been ap­pointed Min­is­ter of Fish­eries and Aqua­cul­ture.

A cab­i­net post will be new ter­ri­tory for the Heart’s De­lightIs­ling­ton res­i­dent, but tak­ing on this port­fo­lio is some­thing he doesn’t take lightly.

“Ob­vi­ously I wasn’t a fish­er­per­son,” the MHA for Car­bon­ear-Trin­ity-Bay de Verde Crocker told The Com­pass. “I grew up in a fam­ily busi­ness. And in this re­gion, fish­ing is the lifeblood of any busi­ness.”

Old Per­li­can, Heart’s Con­tent and Bay de Verde are a few of the com­mu­ni­ties in the dis­trict that still have strong ties to the fish­ery. And Crocker knows his con­nec­tion to the re­gion and those di­rectly af­fected by the in­dus­try will play a big role in his cab­i­net post.

“To­day there’s

still ap­proxi- mately 20,000 New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans em­ployed in the fish­ing and har­vest­ing in­dus­try,” he ex­plained. “Our goal of any depart­ment, and our goal for us as gov­ern­ment, is to ex­pand and use the fish­eries and other nat­u­ral re­sources as new sources of rev­enue and a way to di­ver­sify the econ­omy in the prov­ince.”

Al­though Crocker ap­pears to know a lot about the in­dus­try, the ap­point­ment came as a sur­prise to him. Not be­cause he didn’t feel qual­i­fied, but be­cause he said there were plenty of strong re­sumes.

“I cer­tainly wasn’t ex­pect­ing an ap­point­ment to cab­i­net,” he noted. “He had a lot of peo­ple to choose from. But like any per­son that gets elected, (the depart­ment) is some­thing I am priv­i­leged and hon­oured to serve.”

Al­though Crocker has only had one of­fi­cial brief­ing as of Tues­day night on his depart­ment, he did note there is at least one thing on his plate that will be dis­cussed in the near fu­ture – work­ing with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Since the fish­eries in­dus­try is sub­ject to fed­eral rules and reg­u­la­tions, Crocker looks for­ward to be­ing able to make some move­ment in Ot­tawa for all those work­ing in our prov­ince that are af­fected by the cod fish- ery, har­vest­ing and any­thing else that falls on his plate.

“(The fish­ery has been) for­got­ten for the last 10 years with a gov­ern­ment in Ot­tawa that wasn’t will­ing to co-op­er­ate … One of our goals would be to re­pair our re­la­tion­ship with Ot­tawa.”

(The fish­ery has been) for­got­ten for the last 10 years with a gov­ern­ment in Ot­tawa that wasn’t will­ing to co-op­er­ate … One of our goals would be to re­pair our re­la­tion­ship with Ot­tawa. Steve Crocker

PHOTO BY JOE GIB­BONS/TC ME­DIA

Lib­eral Steve Crocker swears an oath at Gov­ern­ment House in St. John’s. Last Mon­day, the Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton na­tive be­came the new min­is­ter of Fish­eries and Aqua­cul­ture.

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