The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has a responsibility to protect and manage the common fish resource in Canada.
So far, in my opinion, the only things it has managed are the fish harvesters because you can’t manage fish unless you manage the predators of fish.
DFO has not managed predators like seals and here we are with our fish resources in crisis.
We have between 12 to 15 million seals and the fish total allowable catches (TACs) are just not enough to have a prosperous fishery. In comparison, Iceland reported in the last seal census 7,650 seals.
Iceland’s TAC for codfish for the 2019/2020 is 272,411 tonnes. TAC on haddock is 40,723 tonnes. Capelin in 2017 was 299,000 tonnes. It shared a TAC on mackerel for the 2020 season of 922,064 tonnes. Iceland also shared a herring TAC for the 2020 season of 525,594 tonnes.
What harvesters have here is 11,000 tonnes of cod, a shared 8,000 tonnes of mackerel, a TAC for capelin of 22,796 tonnes in 2019 and a moratorium on groundfish for 28 years. Not to mention a moratorium on wild Atlantic salmon for 28 years.
Why is this? Because the seals are eating the fish and stopping them from recovering. The government will do nothing to cull the seals because it does not want the publicity that could tarnish trade in mainland Canada.
We the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are out billions of dollars from the loss of our natural renewable fish resources, while our mayors in fishing towns just watch as their communities die and increase taxes on the few people that continue to stay around.
Our politicians in Ottawa know what’s happening, but they are not going to say anything because they don’t want to rock the boat and lose a seat.
So, here we are in this mess year after year after year. What is to be done about it?
DFO has let us down in management of our fish resources. There should be a class-action lawsuit, in my opinion, for fish harvesters, fish plants, fish plant workers, truck drivers etc… for the loss of fishing income of billions of dollars for poor management of our fishery.