Tied to the wharf for a sec­ond year

Advertiser (Grand Falls) - - Sports - BY ADAM RAN­DELL Adam.ran­dell@gan­der­bea­con.ca

WILD COVE, N.L. – For the sec­ond sea­son in a row Larry Bai­ley says he has been forced out of the recre­ational scal­lop fish­ery and he wants an­swers.

The 84-year-old who re­sides in Wild Cove, north of Baie Verte, has been fish­ing scal­lops his en­tire life. How­ever, a re­vi­sion to the def­i­ni­tion of what a recre­ational scal­lop drag is, in the At­lantic Fish­ery Reg­u­la­tions, is keep­ing him tied to the wharf.

The Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans Canada (DFO) adopted the word­ing, “A drag rake means a de­vice used in fish­ing for shell­fish that is towed along the bed of wa­ter by a ves­sel, but does not in­clude a hy­draulic de­vice or a me­chan­i­cal de­vice,” in 2017.

It’s the same again this year and as a re­sult Bai­ley is no longer per­mit­ted to use his mo­tor­ized cap­stan to hoist a drag.

In­stead, the oc­to­ge­nar­ian is re­quired to haul it by hand, some­thing he says he can no longer do.

“These drags are about 30-40 pound empty, but when they are drag­ging you get scal­lops, kelp, rock, and other de­bris. It can weigh be­tween 400 to 600 pounds,” he said. “It’s not some­thing you can do by your­self.”

Bai­ley had been us­ing a mo­tor­ized cap­stan in the ‘90s to hold the strain of the rake, and can’t un­der­stand why it only be­came an is­sue last year.

“You can take four or five peo­ple with you to haul it back, but not a hoist, it doesn’t make sense,” he said.

He calls the re­vi­sion dis­crim­i­na­tory against the el­derly, those who may not be phys­i­cally ca­pa­ble of haul­ing back the ex­ces­sive weight, but still want to take part in the recre­ational fish­ery.

“It’s tak­ing away the bit of recre­ation we had,” he said.

And it’s some­thing that is per­mis­si­ble in other fish­eries. On a com­mer­cial level, cod and lob­ster fish­eries per­mit the use of haulers.

Bai­ley ad­mits he could bring a crew with him to help haul the catch back, but it’s not some­thing he’s in­ter­ested in.

“That’s giv­ing in to the feds and I’m not pre­pared to do that,” he said.

Head­way stalled

There seemed to be some head­way be­ing made with the is­sue ear­lier in the year, as the DFO was ac­cept­ing feed­back from Fe­bru­ary to April, 2018 on the recre­ational scal­lop fish­ery.

Part of the con­sul­ta­tion asked if the re­vi­sion “im­pacted your par­tic­i­pa­tion in the recre­ational scal­lop fish­ery?”

Bai­ley hoped har­vesters would be suc­cess­ful in bring­ing about change. But the re­vi­sion was up­held.

“But they had to have their own way, which goes to show how the fed­eral govern­ment treats New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans,” he said.

Coast of Bays—Cen­tral—Notre Dame MP Scott Simms said he’s been ad­vo­cat­ing on be­half of recre­ational fish­ers like Bai­ley for some time.

“I’ve asked (DFO) to do a re­view and re­con­sider what they are do­ing,” he said. “To deny peo­ple the use of hy­draulics is es­sen­tially boot­ing peo­ple — who can’t han­dle that size of gear them­selves — out of the fish­ery.”

Simms added that up­hold­ing the re­vi­sion was the wrong de­ci­sion.

“I hope they change their mind at some point. I feel for the recre­ational scal­lop fish­er­men, be­cause I think they may have a point,” Simms said.

In an emailed re­sponse, DFO didn’t pro­vide a rea­son for the re­vi­sion.

The depart­ment con­firmed the con­sul­ta­tion took place ear­lier this year, and, “Re­sponses are cur­rently be­ing an­a­lyzed and will in­form 2019 man­age­ment mea­sures.”

For the sec­ond sea­son in a row, Wild Cove se­nior Larry Bai­ley says he’s been forced out of the of the recre­ational scal­lop fish­ery. Re­vi­sions to the fish­eries def­i­ni­tion by the Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans pre­vent him from us­ing a mo­tor­ized...

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