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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

NL Fishery Expected to Rebound Within Days

Well folks, in case you missed the announcement a couple of weeks ago, tomorrow, July 20 is the big day. That’s right it’s the day all of Newfoundland and Labrador’s fisheries problems will just disappear. Once again cod will appear in such numbers that they will impede the very progress of vessels off the shores by virtue of their unbelievable bio-mass. Tomorrow you see is the day Canada and the European Union begin their joint fisheries enforcement patrols along the perimeter of the 200 mile economic zone.

According to a press release on July 6, the joint patrols will cover 50,000 square nautical miles of fishing grounds in the North West Atlantic (for our uninformed friends from other parts of the world, that’s where Newfoundland and Labrador is situated). The release goes on to say that the patrols will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of inspections.

Yes indeed, I can’t wait. Canada’s Coast Guard vessels, if they have enough fuel, are not in for refit at the time or are being used by some MP for a lobster cruise, will work jointly with EU patrol vessels, from the very nations that are raping the Grand Banks, to ensure that all is right in the world. Once again those poor Newfies have been bested. Here they are screaming for Custodial management of fish stocks but now, thanks to this latest move it won’t be necessary will it? Hell for that matter why is Canada even bothering to put patrol vessels to sea at all now that we have the EU protecting the stocks?

Thanks Loyola, it’s good to see some new and creative thinking taking place in the Fisheries portfolio. Too bad nobody told you who it is that’s out there raping those waters in the first place. If they had told you, you might have thought twice about the merit of welcoming armed vessels from the same nations we’ve been trying to remove from the area for decades. It’s perfect federal logic though. If you’re in a fight with someone don’t attack them, let them arm themselves, invite them in and things will be just fine. I wonder if anyone in Ottawa has ever heard of the concept of putting the fox in charge of the hen house, clearly not.

Think about it Loyola, do you really expect diligent surveillance by fisheries officials who are ultimately answerable to a foreign government that is more than happy to look the other way while boat loads of cod are landed at their Nation’s fish processing plants?
I can just imagine the conversation on the bridge of one of those patrol boats now.

The scene: Late at night somewhere off the coast of Newfoundland on the bridge of an EU patrol boat

Watch: “Captain, we’ve spotted two trawlers illegally fishing just off the starboard bow.”

Captain: “So, what do you want me to do about it?”

Watch: “But sir, there’s a Canadian Coast Guard vessel approaching from our port side. It’ll be here in a few minutes.”

Captain: “No problem.”

Captain (picking up his radio handset): “Patrol Bravo One calling Canadian Coast Guard vessel, please alter course one-eight-zero degrees. We’ve got this area covered folks. There’s nothing of interest here. Patrol Bravo one over and out.”

Yes, it just warms the heart doesn’t it?

Well, if nothing else at least the patrols may work as a cost saving measure for Ottawa. Now when a foreign fishing vessel runs into trouble out there, as they often do, they can be rescued by their own authorities resulting in cost savings for Canadian tax payers and if one of those pesky Newfoundland fishermen gets huffy and decides to make trouble for someone illegally fishing, the foreign captain can always call for an armed protective escort. See, it’s a win / win situation for everyone, especially the EU fishing community and the federal spin doctors. After all, in Canadian politics it’s never really as important to do something as it is to look like you are.

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