Enterprise Ownership Rules Need to Change

The photo below is of my old fishing premises at Tizzard’s Harbour, where my father, grandfather and previous generations of forefathers fished for centuries.

The fishing stage is gone now, towed to my historic fishing premises at Main Tickle, Twillingate, Prime Berth, as I called it in honour of all the cod trap draws held in our kitchen when I was a boy with everyone hoping to select from the brown paper bag the best, or Prime Berth for the upcoming summer season.

Today, I visited the harbour with a group of tourists from mainland Canada and as far away as Australia. I was showing them where I set my lobster traps as a boy, by the island in the photo, many years ago. At that time, all the boys in the harbour had a few lobster traps which kept us busy stabbing flatfish for bait and tending our few traps after school in the warmer months of May and June.


I explained to them how life has changed and the freedoms we took for granted have been taken away by the lobby efforts of the fishermen’s union and unknowing politicians who have legislated policies which make it extremely difficult for an elderly fisher to pass the family fishing business down the line.

I explained how my son, who grew up in the boats with his mother and I, is qualified to be at the helm of a 1,200-foot supertanker, operating from the Persian Gulf to the Sea of Japan, but the government of Newfoundland and Labrador says he is not qualified nor permitted for me to pass along our enterprise to him. Neither is my son-in-law, who is also deemed qualified by the government of Canada, through Transport Canada… not even if he decides to quit his job manufacturing fishing vessels.

The rules and regulations enacted into the law of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador almost 30 years ago have resulted in the combining of enterprises and the wealth of the sea in fewer and fewer hands, such that many historic fishing villages now have just one or two elderly fishers left.

I have been lobbying our provincial politicians for years now to relax the restrictions of intergenerational transfer of enterprises in the case where family members are deemed qualified to operate the vessels in question as one has only to open one’s eyes and look around to see the present policy is driving the last nail in the coffin of rural N.L.


David Boyd
Twillingate, N.L.


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