Opinion 73 results

DFO Reverses Surf Clam Award After Refusing to Re-open Flawed Process

The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has withdrawn an allocation of 25 per cent of the Arctic surf clam quota from the small New Brunswick First Nation that won the award. It has also pledged to work with existing sole license holder, Clearwater Seafoods, to ensure that the unallocated quota can be used to support income and livelihoods of plant and vessel workers this year. This is welcome news to Newfoundland and Labrador. In an unheralded announcement, DFO said “the ...

Trump’s Great Gift to Canada

Thanks to Canada’s neighbour to the south, the optimism level of fishermen in lobster fishing areas (LFA) 34 and 35 must be on the rise. A few months ago, The Navigator’s sister publication, Atlantic Fisherman, speculated that if trade talks between the U.S. and China continued to go sideways, then the Nova Scotia lobster industry might be on the verge of more market share in the lucrative and all-important Asian market. And it appears that prediction, due mainly to the unpredictable ...

Sick Seal Garners Too Much Attention

Recent news articles say a lot about current public opinion on seals in Newfoundland and Labrador and the rest of Canada. When one sick seal washes ashore, the public, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the media carry the story for several days. There are an estimated 10 million seals (six species) in Newfoundland and Labrador and there are plenty of natural mortalities. Instead of wasting resources on an autopsy, why doesn’t DFO conduct scientific research on the real ...

A Call for a Commission of Inquiry

This is an open letter to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, all N.L. MHAs and all MPs for Canada   As stated by the late Alex Hickman, “the ocean is the backbone of our existence.” My ancestors, the Rices, Parsons and Bartletts, came from England to this province of Newfoundland and Labrador many years ago to make a living from the ocean. And they did for hundreds of years until the ocean with its many species of fish started to fail (or ...

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

About 23 years ago, I helped lead a team that designed and implemented the cod sentinel inshore survey on Northern cod (Southern Avalon, North East Coast and Labrador). The status of Northern cod has been in the news a great deal lately and the decision by DFO to cut the commercial quota has been met with some stiff opposition from the FFAW-Unifor. This prompted me to do a little investigating to see what the cod sentinel is telling us about Northern cod. Based on a review of cod sentinel ...

Issue of Adjacency Needs to be a Priority

My first reaction to a recent news story in The Telegram entitled “St. Anthony Seafoods becomes a seven-month operation the first time in its history,” was to nod my head and think that reductions in work at plants like this is the cause of the decline in our rural Newfoundland Labrador communities. After a few minutes though, it became clear to me that my initial thought was wrong. The worries and hardships inflicted upon hard working people, like those who work at the St. Anthony ...

The Ecosystem and the Connection Between Capelin, Cod and Seals

Growing up, every year we would go out in my grandfather’s trap skiff to get a load of capelin for the gardens. You did not have to search for capelin back then, they would land in the same beaches every year. I returned to the fishery in 1977 and spent the winters sealing — there were good markets, good prices and you could sell seal meat for canning. You could cut open a mature harp seal and fill a five-gallon bucket with capelin — but not any more. The seal hunt continued until ...

More Input Needed Before Fishery Closures Implemented

I have recently been watching the federal government in Ottawa and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans from the comfort of my home. “Robust, science-based, coherent measures to protect these highly endangered North Atlantic right whales. We’re really playing Russian roulette with the entire future of the Canadian fish and seafood industry,” Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc was quoted to say. Very strong words. But wait a minute. Don’t we live in Canada? What about our ...

What is the Definition of an Inshore Fish Harvester?

I write this letter to inform your readers why it’s important to define an inshore fish harvester for purposes of a vote by the Labour Relations Board to ultimately decide which union should represent them. Here are three, real-life examples: Two men who hold commercial fishing licenses are on the provincial government’s “sunshine list” as having made more than $100,000 in base salary/overtime in 2016 (one alone made more than $130,000), should they also be eligible to vote? ...

Fact Checking Georges Bank Haddock

I noticed a letter from the FFAW in the June edition of The Navigator that used 5Z (Eastern Georges Bank) haddock as an example in an unrelated point. The statement read “The last haddock assessment reported a spawning stock biomass (ssb) of 33,700 tonnes” and later that “they land nearly 15,000 tonnes.” While stock assessments are publicly available online, I wanted to ensure Navigator readers are aware that the 2017 stock assessment showed the stock was extremely healthy with ...