Mak­ing it right

The Packet (Clarenville) - - EDITORIAL -

On Aug. 5, 2017, Derek But­ler, As­so­ci­a­tion of Seafood Pro­duc­ers, had a let­ter pub­lished de­fend­ing the com­mer­cial caplin fish­ery.

He said, “this year’s caplin fish­ery is un­der­way and all re­ports there is abun­dance of caplin be­ing found and caplin landed to date have been smaller, sec­ond, the cur­rent man­age­ment of the fish­ery is based on pre­cau­tion.”

Go back in time, 1990, fish­er­men were say­ing cod were get­ting smaller and scarcer and man­agers were say­ing the fish­ery is based on science and pre­cau­tion. In fact, we were be­ing told that it was im­pos­si­ble to fish any species in the ocean to ex­tinc­tion.

What But­ler failed to men­tion that there are six mil­lion more harp seals in the ocean now than there were 30 years ago and their favourite food is caplin.

Both the FFAW and But­ler have made state­ments that the amount of 30,000 tons of caplin fished this year is only a frac­tion of the amount taken by other preda­tors. 30,000 is the amount brought ashore and how much was dumped off­shore be­cause of poor qual­ity? We will never know.

If caplin is not im­por­tant to the cod, how come the caplin stocks have not ex­ploded since the mora­to­rium?

How come the last cou­ple of years a lot of cod have very small liv­ers and are not fit to eat be­cause they are starv­ing? Is that the rea­son the pro­ces­sors who But­ler rep­re­sent are re­fus­ing to buy cod, al­though fish­er­men have been al­lowed to catch cod since June? There has been only one day in this area that fisher peo­ple could sell.

But­ler’s last state­ment at this point the op­er­a­tive word re­mains bal­ance, we must pro­ceed with cau­tion as the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and DFO has com­mit­ted to do­ing. Steady as she goes, Mr. But­ler, steady as she goes doesn’t cut it, as the pas­sen­gers on the Ti­tanic found out.

Steady as she goes is the way the cod was man­aged be­fore the mora­to­rium, when the drag­gers couldn’t find any cod the fish­ery was closed.

When the plants can’t get any more caplin to process then the caplin fish­ery will shut down.

Have we learned noth­ing from his­tory?

The caplin is the pre­ferred food for most ev­ery species in the ocean. Can’t we stop fish­ing caplin so that other species can sur­vive and mul­ti­ply?

If this prov­ince is to sur­vive we need a healthy ocean and for that to hap­pen we all have to work to­gether to make it hap­pen and the last 40 years we have done the op­po­site: de­stroy, de­stroy!

We owe it to our chil­dren to make this right!

(Ret) Capt. Wil­fred Bartlett Green Bay South wil­f­bartlett@hot­

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