A new fish audit released by Oceana Canada confirms, yet again, that the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery is being basically abandoned by the federal government.
The current audit exposes that Canada is failing the wild fisheries from coast to coast — with just one third considered to be healthy. The findings include the fact that nearly one in five stocks are critically depleted, including the Northern cod. Nearly 80 per cent of stocks lack a rebuilding plan and the health of a third of the stocks remain uncertain due to lack of scientific data.
This is an outright confirmation of what we have been trying to tell politicians in Ottawa and here in N.L. for years — that our fisheries in this province are going to hell in a handbasket and the governments do not want to address it.
I am neither shocked nor surprised by this year’s audit; but question why the governments of Canada and N.L. do not see this as a national priority and a way to help deliver N.L. and its coastal communities out of its fiscal mess.
We have a sustainable food source off our coast that has been mismanaged and neglected for decades that we can ill-afford as a nation to neglect and how Ottawa and our own government cannot see this as a tool for our province’s and communities’ economic recovery is beyond me.
I propose that the provincial government immediately request a Prime Ministerial Emergency Fish Task Force on this matter to address the shortcomings of why Ottawa, through DFO, cannot rebuild the stocks off N.L.
Norway and Iceland have successfully managed to recover their stocks. The difference is that they made the fishery a priority, implemented progressive measures and delivered to the future healthier and more abundant fish stocks.
It has been 30 shameful years since the N.L. moratorium, so, for God’s sake, it’s high time to get their act together and that lead must come from the Prime Minister himself.
Fishery Community Alliance
St. John’s, N.L.