Plenty of blame to share
First of all, a full disclosure: although I worked for DFO for 30 years I had absolutely no connection with the science or the management related to commercial fish stocks.
Having watched closely the media coverage of recent theatrics at the DFO offices, I have to say I don’t know what is the most tragic aspect of the Richard Gillett affair, the fact that he chose to endanger his God-given health for 11 days, the people applauding as he was taken away on a stretcher like he was some kind of hero or something, or the media trying to interview the poor guy as he was being put in the ambulance. None of this was Newfoundland’s finest hour, to say the least.
The restraint and efforts of the federal government in all of this is to be commended, especially considering the episode started with the forced break and entry into a federal building. The whole thing is ridiculous and most unfortunate.
DFO is, of course, not blameless in the events that led us up to the present day or the current status of our marine fish stocks. The many years of no consultation or acknowledgement of the expertise or knowledge of fishers is indefensible. The ignoring of scientific advice from within and the pressuring of management regarding quota-setting decisions by politicians are generally acknowledged facts that brought us the 1992 cod moratorium and may possibly have also been factors in recent quota cuts.
Fishers, on the other hand, are far from blameless as well. In the midst of all the list of sins attributed to DFO, I have heard no reference to other blatant wrongdoings such as misreporting, discarding of undersized fish, underhanded dealings with processors, exceeding quotas, use of illegal gear, etc.
Against the background of all of this one has to wonder if it is advisable to have any roe fishery for caplin, the species that sustains the marine ecosystem. Is there enough resolve or backbone amongst the triumvirate of DF O-politicians fisher s to address this looming crisis in any meaningful way? Are we doomed to fall victim yet again to the lack of any quality political leadership in this key area of our society as has plagued this province for generations?
Indeed, I suggest there is lots of blame to go around with respect to the fishery in our fair province!
Is there enough resolve or backbone amongst the triumvirate of DFOpoliticians-fishers to address this looming crisis in any meaningful way?”