Murky Waters Surround MPAs
After the Deepwater Horizon disaster, I dedicated five years of my life to fighting against the development of Old Harry, a hydrocarbon reserve midway between Newfoundland and the Magdalen Islands.
Recently, I have had to re-engage on a separate, but related issue of marine protected areas or MPAs.
In being more fashionable than practical, MPAs will needlessly expropriate prime fishing grounds from our intergenerational fishermen.
Although the whole world thinks marine protected areas ...
We Need to Protect our Seafood Farmers
As a proud Newfoundlander and Labradorian, I can sit in silence no more and watch an industry pioneered by scientists and dedicated farmers of the sea since the 1970s be slowly eroded and destroyed by foreign interest groups such as the Sea Shepherd Society and other ideological radicals.
This September, our farming industry suffered a catastrophic loss of stock due to an unforeseeable environmental event. This act of Mother Nature and the impact that it has had on our industry was no ...
Inshore Fish Harvesters are More Divided Than Ever
Lately there seems to be more news stories about problems in the fishery then there are rodents at the Robin Hood Bay landfill.
The province is blaming Canada, the provincial parties are blaming each other and the FFAW-Unifor is blaming everyone but themselves for the mismanagement of our fisheries.
The root cause of the problems with our inshore fishery today is it is micromanaged to a level that a fish harvester cannot go to the washroom without permission.
Whether it be for a new ...
A Single Union Cannot Represent All Sides of the Fishing Industry
Since FISH-NL began our second membership drive in mid-August, the FFAW-Unifor has sucker punched its processor buddies, staged a free-fish giveaway, fallen for outside buyers, launched a seal petition and declared war on the oil and gas industry that it usually never says a peep about.
The FFAW-Unifor has also gone after its oil industry regulator buddy, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (which has funded the FFAW), for permitting oil and gas exploration in prime ...
Immediate Action Needed to Save Whales
We are devastated at the loss of now six right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
It was one, then two, then four, five and now six. It has left our team and our allies sickened and heartbroken. It has left us angry and wanting to take emergency action.
Of the six precious whales now confirmed dead, I will tell you about two briefly.
Whales such as the matriarch Punctuation, who birthed eight calves and was responsible for multiple grandchildren after that and the newly mature male ...
DFO Needs to Change Policy on Medical Substitute Operator for Lobster Fishery
The independence of the inshore lobster fishery is a goal we all support.
It helps keep licenses in individual hands through the owner-operator policy and is important to the growth and preservation of our coastal communities. In the last few years, The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has started enforcing a policy which clearly violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, DFO introduced the medical substitute operator policy. This allowed a ...
Canadian Sealing: A Labyrinth of Lies
Bang — one dead seal out of a population of about 7,500,000.
For over 50 years, Canadian marine mammal scientists have studied the harp seal herd off the east coast of Canada, so we have a very good understanding of them.
From this science, the Government of Canada sets annual quotas that sealers can kill and yet sustain the health of the herd. During this period, we have more than tripled the size of the herd.
The seals we hunt are fully weened and independent of their dames.
Summer Commercial Cod Fishery Should be Eliminated
Once again, Bob Verge has produced a very thought provocative article with his column Quantity Versus Value, Navigator Vol. 20. No. 10, October 2017.
When the time comes and it will, when Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are allowed to kill a cod for gain and sell it commercially, we have to do it like the Scandinavians. Maximizing value is the way to proceed.
I tell people it really does not matter how we catch cod in the summer months. This is only “hobby fishing.”
However, when ...
Apply the Precautionary Principle Before it is Too Late
In letters to the editor (Navigator, Vol 20, No. 10, October 2017), John Risley raises several examples of what we don’t know about our fishery.
We have no real idea of what our fishing industry resources are going to look like in 10 years’ time, including changes in location and abundance. He points out we are enjoying record catches for Atlantic Canada’s most valuable species, lobster; but we have no idea whether we can count on these catches to remain stable or improve or go into ...
More Questions Than Answers
The problem with aspects of our fishery has more to do with what we don’t know.
What we do know is that both the crab and shrimp populations in some areas are in serious decline and salmon returns this past year on Newfoundland’s east coast were the worst on record. As well, the seal population on Canada’s east coast numbers some eight million in total, no doubt the highest on record and that there are a whole lot of anomalies and changes taking place in the water column.
We also ...