‘If we don’t fight … who will?’

The Packet (Clarenville) - - SPORTS - Barb.Dean-Sim­mons@thep­acket.ca

the oth­ers will re­turn to port on the other boat.

“Once you have the her­ring tucked up and loaded, the big­gest part of the work is done. Then it’s back to the wharf to un­load.”

The reg­u­la­tion about ‘suf­fi­cient crew’, and the vague an­swer from the DFO of­fi­cial in Clarenville, did not sit well with Me­lanie Marsh.

Fish­ing is a busi­ness, she says.

As wife of a fish­er­man she han­dles all the pa­per­work and man­age­ment of the fish­ing busi­ness.

She doesn’t fish on the boat; in­stead she works a full-time, year-round day job in nearby Clarenville.

Nights and week­ends she at­tends to the pa­per­work of run­ning a fish­ing busi­ness.

“And as far as I’m con­cerned this rule was DFO dic­tat­ing to us how to run our busi­ness. It would be the same as gov­ern­ment telling any other busi­ness it had to em­ploy a ‘suf­fi­cient’ num­ber of peo­ple to run their busi­ness,” Marsh told the Packet.

So she was pre­pared to fight back on this one.

Af­ter con­tact­ing the Packet on Wed­nes­day, she also con­tacted the Fish Food and Al­lied Work­ers (FFAW) union and man­agers fur­ther up the chain in DFO.

The Packet also con­tacted the DFO last Thurs­day, ask­ing for the ra­tio­nal and pur­pose be­hind the li­cence con­di­tion change.

An of­fi­cial from the de­part­ment was not avail­able to speak on the is­sue, but af­ter a few phone calls and emails ex­changed, a pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cial in­formed The Packet on Fri­day morn­ing that new li­cence con­di­tions for the her­ring fish­ery were bring re­viewed.

By Fri­day af­ter­noon, Richard Marsh had his new li­cence con­di­tions. The rule about “suf­fi­cient crew” was deleted.

The Marsh’s are pleased; they can now fish for her­ring this Fall the same way they fished for her­ring in the Spring, and make their own de­ci­sion about the num­ber of crewmem­bers to use.

For the record, in their re­ply to The Packet’s re­quest for an ex­pla­na­tion for the ‘suf­fi­cient crewmem­bers’ rule, the DFO in St. John’s replied, “The De­part­ment in­tro­duced a new li­cence con­di­tion in re­sponse to in­dus­try con­cerns about a prac­tice known of “barg­ing”, whereby ves­sels that are not geared up for a fish­ery re­trieve catch from an ac­tive en­ter­prise. As a re­sult, par­tic­i­pa­tion in the fall her­ring fish­ery is re­stricted to those geared-up for ac­tive fish­ing.

“We rec­og­nize that the ref­er­ence to “suf­fi­cient crew” in the li­cence con­di­tions re­lated to the “barg­ing” is­sue has caused some con­fu­sion. We are work­ing with in­dus­try to clar­ify the re­quire­ments and har­vesters are re­ceiv­ing amended li­cence con­di­tions to­day via the Na­tional On­line Li­cens­ing Sys­tem.”

The Packet also con­tacted the FFAW last week, and their re­sponse was, “We spoke with DFO and while we will not be com­ment­ing on the change, DFO plans to re­lease an ex­pla­na­tion on why the con­di­tion was put in place.”

Me­lanie Marsh, mean­while, is glad that she spoke up on this is­sue.

She only wishes more fish­ers would do the same when they come up against reg­u­la­tions that hin­der their abil­ity to run an ef­fi­cient busi­ness en­ter­prise.

“This is our liveli­hood, and if we don’t fight for it then who’s go­ing to?” she said the day af­ter re­ceiv­ing the new li­cence con­di­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.