Iden­ti­fy­ing is­sues

Fish har­vesters raise in­dus­try con­cerns at Fish-NL meet­ing

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BY COLIN FAR­RELL BY COLIN FAR­RELL

Fish­ing quo­tas was just one of the con­cerns dis­cussed dur­ing a Fed­er­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Sea Har­vesters New­found­land and Labrador (FISH-NL) meet­ing held in Marys­town Nov. 29.

Har­vesters from around the Burin Penin­sula had an op­por­tu­nity to raise their con­cerns about the Fish, Food and Al­lied Work­ers (FFAW-Uni­for) union dur­ing a se­ries of meet­ings held in the re­gion last week.

Ad­di­tional meet­ings were held in Bay L’Ar­gent, For­tune, Lawn and Pe­tite Forte.

Wayne Meade, who fishes out of Grand Bank, was one of the at­ten­dees at last weeks meet­ing in Marys­town.

“I fished scal­lop on St. Pierre bank for a num­ber of years and in 2006 they (FFAW) give away the mid­dle (scal­lop) bed and the south­ern bed to the big off­shore com­pa­nies,” he said. “I held a li­cense for that area for the last 25 years and overnight I had it took from (me), so there’s noth­ing fair about that.”

Meade said fol­low­ing that he re­moved the scal­lop gear from his ves­sel.

“I went at the hook and line fish­ery for a cou­ple of years be­cause we had a 10 per cent by catch of hal­ibut, (then) in 2008 they de­cided to take the by catch of hal­ibut from us,” he said.

Meade he it is time for a change in rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

“The FFAW (have) been in there too long and they’re dis­hon­est to the fish­er­man, they’ve done ev­ery­thing to bring us down, done ev­ery­thing to the 3PS fish­er­man to bring’em down — all New­found­land not only 3PS,” he noted.

Meade added that he feels the FFAW are not rep­re­sent­ing the fish­er­man/

“They’re only there to ben­e­fit their own selves, they’re not there to help the fish­er­man at all,” he said.

Ryan Cleary, pres­i­dent of FISHNL said the har­vesters at the Marys­town meet­ing are not alone in their feel­ings.

“We’ve heard th­ese con­cerns here for a while,” he said. “The peo­ple in Gar­nish, for ex­am­ple, have been par­tic­u­larly vo­cal in terms of the lob­ster fish­ery and bud­dy­ing-up.”

Cleary said other con­cerns FISH-NL is hear­ing in their trav­els has to do with the age of the peo­ple in the fish­ery.

“It’s so hard for peo­ple to get into the fish­ery,” he said. “It’s to hard for young peo­ple to get in and we’ve got an ag­ing work force.”

Cleary said although that is con­trolled by the fish har­vesters cer­ti­fi­ca­tion board, the union has to fight for the peo­ple they rep­re­sent.

“The union has a re­spon­si­bil­ity when some­thing is not work­ing as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of fish har­vesters to stand up, be counted and to change things so it does work,” he said.

Cleary noted har­vesters have a lack of faith in the FFAW.

“They don’t trust their union, they’re not con­sulted by their union (and) the in­ter­ests of fish har­vesters are not put first and all the way down the list,” he said.

At the start of each meet­ings Cleary asked those in at­ten­dance if they trust their union.

“I can read peo­ples faces,” he said. “You can tell that they don’t, there’s a rea­son there is so much un­rest in the fish­ery.”

This year was a first for the An­nual Kins­men Santa Claus Pa­rade in Marys­town.

A quiet zone was des­ig­nated along this year’s route. The zone was in­cluded to al­low chil­dren who may be sen­si­tive to loud noises an op­por­tu­nity to en­joy the pa­rade with­out worry.

Kins­men Dan Walsh, pa­rade chair­per­son, ex­plained he had seen a quiet zone used dur­ing a Santa Claus Pa­rade that he watched on TV.

“I thought it would be a great idea to have it here,” he said.

Walsh said that he spoke to sev­eral par­ents of autis­tic chil­dren who were de­lighted with the idea of the quiet zone.

“There are kids who are scared (of) sirens and loud noises,” he added.

The area will run along a section of Ville Marie Drive

“We’re go­ing to try it this year,” said Walsh. “We’re go­ing to have a section from the Catholic church down to the over­pass (with) no sirens, no noise, no noth­ing.”

Walsh said that he is even go­ing to ask the sea cadets to re­frain from play­ing their drums in that area.

Mem­bers of the Burin Penin­sula Autism Fam­ily Sup­port Group are ap­plaud­ing the move by pa­rade or­ga­niz­ers.

“We were ob­vi­ously happy with (the) in­clu­sion of the zone it­self,” said Colin Hod­der, the group’s pres­i­dent.

“For some peo­ple with ASD, the ex­tra noise and lights could be over­whelm­ing or a hin­drance to (them) en­joy­ing the pa­rade.”

He added, “Any­thing that helps in­di­vid­u­als on the spec­trum, and their fam­i­lies, par­tic­i­pate in and en­joy be­ing part of their com­mu­ni­ties is ap­pre­ci­ated.”

Hod­der ex­plained that while the group did not re­quest the zone be added, he is happy it has been.

“We were ob­vi­ously de­lighted by this,” he said. “I think the fact that they thought to in­clude this dur­ing plan­ning shows how far autism aware­ness has come, and how will­ing lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties are to sup­port in­di­vid­u­als on the spec­trum.”

The quiet zone will be open to any­one with chil­dren who are sen­si­tive to loud noises.

COLIN FAR­RELL/TC ME­DIA

Ryan Cleary was in Marys­town last week for a FISH-NL meet­ing

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