The right ap­proach

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

Fish­eries Min­is­ter Darin King took a dif­fi­cult stand per­son­ally last week.

He de­nied a re­quest from Ocean Choice In­ter­na­tional for a per­ma­nent ex­emp­tion in the size of red­fish and yel­low­tail floun­der it can ex­port to over­seas mar­kets.

Tied into the Ocean Choice re­quest was the per­ma­nent clo­sure of the Marys­town fish plant and re­open­ing of the For­tune plant, cre­at­ing 110 jobs there through the pro­cess­ing of seven mil­lion pounds of fish.

For­tune is in the midst of Mr. King’s Grand Bank District and a com­mu­nity in which he was raised. He has been work­ing with the town coun­cil and lo­cal union ex­ec­u­tive since his elec­tion as an MHA to re­open the plant, and pro­vide some of the work the fa­cil­ity once of­fered as the town’s main em­ployer.

OCI’S of­fer to re­open the plant was sim­ply a trade off of two penin­sula towns, try­ing to soften the blow of los­ing 240 jobs in Marys­town while cre­at­ing full time po­si­tions in For­tune and an­other 150 jobs at sea on its ves­sels.

But Mr. King has so far been able to rise above the pol­i­tics a de­ci­sion al­low­ing OCI the re­quested ex­emp­tions would bring him in his own district.

It also would fly in the face of the ad­vo­cacy he and his fel­low PC MHA Clyde Jack­man (Burin-placentia West) have been es­pous­ing for the last num­ber of years of a re­gional ben­e­fit to govern­ment sup­port, fund­ing ini­tia­tives and ser­vices. Es­sen­tially, what helps one com­mu­nity on the Burin Penin­sula is of ben­e­fit to all.

For the time be­ing Mr. King has with­stood the OCI lobby to al­low it to make money its way, by ex­port­ing the peo­ple’s re­sources from our oceans.

A real con­cern though is the min­is­ter’s re­lent­ing that he could give tem­po­rary ex­emp­tions of up to 15 years. It’s been 20 years since the cod mora­to­rium was an­nounced but the fish­ery has yet to re­cover. A 15 year ex­port ex­emp­tion could mean the com­plete de­struc­tion of these two species.

Now it’s time for all stake­hold­ers to get to the ta­ble and ham­mer out so­lu­tions to the real is­sues and con­cerns plagu­ing the New­found­land fish­ery. There doesn’t have to be an­other study or com­mis­sion, just a com­mit­ment to act on the rec­om­men­da­tions iden­ti­fied by pre­vi­ous stud­ies/re­ports.

The an­swers are there. Is the po­lit­i­cal will?

Ge­orge Macvicar, Editor/man­ager

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