Da Legal Stuff...

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fisheries Minister Presides Over Cod Stock Destruction


In a recent email to Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn I asked the Minister if it was his government's intention to invoke custodial managment over the nose and tail of the Grand Banks and the flemish Cap. Here was his very political response:

Loyola Hearn: As I have stated on several occasions, I have every intention of taking every available opportunity to deal with this challenge. We have several initiatives underway which all lead in the same direction.

I then pressed him in a follow up email to answer the question of custodial management directly and informed him that I expected a response within 5 business days. Now, weeks later, there has still been no response from Mr. Hearn. A far cry from the direct statement he made during election campaign in January. At that time Mr. Hearn said for the record:

Loyola Hearn: Our party initiated the idea of custodial management. We had a resolution to that effect passed in Parliament. In our policy statements we commit to taking custodial management if we become government.

The commentary:

So, if you live in Newfoundland or Labrador, did you actually make it out on the salt water over the past few of weeks to catch the 5 fish per day you have been permitted to take during August? Boy isn’t it grand how Ottawa has finally let us have access to the fish off our coast? Now we can catch enough for the odd meal or two before the season is over. I just hope they see fit to let us do it all over again a year from now and I believe they just might, if we are all really good and don’t do anything to “rock the boat” so to speak.

If you detected the strong smell of sarcasm in the previous paragraph you get an big ‘A’ for paying attention, if you didn’t, then you’re likely a member of the Canadian government. I mean come on folks, enough is enough, either the fish stocks are in trouble and need protection or they’re not, which is it?

On one hand we have the Fisheries Minister telling Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans over and over just how lucky they are to be able to get out on the water for a few days. Then, the next thing you know he’s all over the news warning everyone to be good little boys and girls and not to abuse this wonderful thing he’s done. No sir, you better not abuse this gift he’s bestowed by or you’ll lose it quicker than you can say, “Please pass the hard bread and water”. After all everyone needs to do their part to protect this delicate species right? Wrong, apparently Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans are expected to do their part but not Ottawa itself and certainly not the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

While Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans are being made to feel like naughty little children, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is busy giving foreign fishers free reign in to catch tons of fish in the same waters. Just a few weeks ago Loyola Hearn announced that several North Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) countries will be deploying patrol vessels off our shores in order to help Canada protect the area from illegal foreign fishing. How stupid does he think people are? Consider if you will that these patrol vessels will be sent from the very countries that have an estimated 100+ fishing boats plying those very waters daily, countries that subsidize those illegal fishing enterprises with hundreds of millions of dollars a year so they can afford to sail here and return to their home ports profitably.

In another bold move Minister Loyola Hearn proudly announced the creation of a blacklist for vessels and countries that are caught illegally fishing in the NAFO region. These countries will be denied access to ports and other sanctions may be taken against them if they are discovered breaking the law. Great news right, wrong again. Once again the announcement is little more than a bad case of the Ottawa spin doctors at their sleazy best.

The statement sounds great until you read the fine print. It’s there that you’ll discover that while the blacklist will impact some smaller offenders like the Dominican Republic, Cyprus and Panama, the list will not be used against vessels from NAFO member countries. Nations like Spain, Portugal, Iceland, and others, nations that are often considered the worst offenders in the area. Instead Canada will depend on the patrol vessels sent from these very countries to arrest their own people, charge them when they return to their home ports and ensure that they are convicted and punished by the very governments that are assisting them to fish here illegally.

Now, as if to add insult to injury and clearly prove once and for all exactly how stupid Ottawa believes the public is, local lawyer and columnist Averill Baker identified in a recent article that tender calls have gone out in the U.S. for fishing quotas off the Newfoundland coast.
Apparently these quotas will be available to U.S. fishers only (not Canadian and certainly not Newfoundland or Labrador fishers). They will include everything from redfish to squid, shrimp, to yellowtail flounder and hake to skate. Some of you may be thinking, “Well at least the government isn’t allowing them to catch cod”, sorry, wrong again. When you consider that fishing vessels are permitted a certain level of by-catch based on their overall quota, the end result is that tons of cod fish will sail out of the area and wind up in U.S. processing plants. Not the 5 fish per person and not 15 fish per boat that locals have been granted the gift of taking from the water, but tons of cod fish and every ounce of it will be fully sanctioned by Ottawa.

Way to go Minister Hearn and well done all our representatives in Ottawa! What’s next, contracting Russian or British navy vessels to sink any Canadian fishing boats that might venture from port? Why not, you may as well just kill them outright rather than waiting for the slow death you’re currently presiding.


Anonymous said...

Myles, I have to ask - what are we going to do about it? None of this is a surprise nor is it anything new yet all anyone seems to do about it is talk (likely including most people that contribute to this blog).

Atikonak said...

I ponder that very question on a regular basis.

I can't help but wonder what course of action is the best? And what of the Newfoundland and Labrador First Party? Are they still out there and are they serious about what they're doing or not doing as it appears? I was quite excited when I heard about a party being formed that was dedicated to creating a better situation for this province in Canada. I have to say I have been disapointed to date at their lack of public effort. After just checking their website I am surprised to find that they are now also registered as a provincial party. I didn't even hear about it!

Don't get me wrong I respect their goals but I don't see any results.

So do we need a new party?

Do we need a revolution?

Is there enough support in the province to push a seporation agenda for any party?

Like many I'm affraid I'm all questions with very few answers.

MrChills said...

What can we do about it? That is a good question... Not that I am indorsing this in anyway, but something tells me that if this was happening in most countries, there would be people out shooting rockets at the boats pillaging their resources.

NL-ExPatriate said...

Ah but your anger and outrage are misplaced. It isn't the foreigners who are raping and pillaging our continental shelf so much as Canada is allowing if not out right endorsing and selling the right to rape and pillage the resources on our continental shelf by not calling on the UN to recognise the entire continental shelf as ours.

There are two clauses in the UNCLOS document one which states that if all of a states continental shelf, rise and slope aren't encompassed inside the 200 mile EEZ then that country can present their case to have their EEZ extended to include the entire continental shelf rise and slope.
There is another clause which states that if high seas fishers are causing destruction and irreparable damage that country can lobby for an extension to their existing EEZ. In fact the nation state has an obligation to do just that and Canada is shirking it's responsibility to protect our continental shelf and the species which exist there.

To my knowledge Canada is the only signatore that has a continental shelf which extends out past the 200 mile EEZ. How convienient.

Instead Canada gladly welcomes foreigners even sends out requests for foreign nations to come and harvest while our own people are being locked out and given a pittance of the quotas available. We should be getting at least a quota of 90,000 for Cod inside the 200 mile Economic giveaway zone and as a bare minimum 10,000 from outside the 200 mile zone all in all a total of 100,000 tons with the Historic foreign nations like Britain, Spain, France, Portugal getting 10,000 each which would be inline with the sustainable quotas in the range of 150,000 which were harvested for years with no negative impacts.

If either of these countries has sanctions against the Legal, Humane seal harvest their rights should be revolked for ignorance.

If you are going to shoot rockets at anybody it should be our federal minders. You wonder why there is terrorism, Vigilantism, and guerrila warfare in democratic societies it is because the governments like ours are the furthest thing from democratic when Ontario and Quebec has 60% of the seats in the HOC similar in the Senate and downright ignorant in the Supreme court with Ont with 3 and Quebec with 3 out of 9.

Cut loose foreign ships tied up to our docks at the ebb tide off course.

I say block the Saint Lawrence Seaway. I have a 17 foot speed boat I'd be willing to volunteer. You may need to row she's an old beast but sea worthy.

mt.pearligan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mt.pearligan said...

Point is we have some sort of consensus - NL in or out of Canada the situation is pretty bleak for the province's economy, infrastructure, and culture etc. Talking and complaining only goes so far - time to sign up with NL-First (it's all we have in terms of political initiative), recruit others and build momentum for change. I think Quebec's model is not one to be emulated exactly but could serve as a basic template for what we need to do in this province.

MrChills said...

Perhaps we should ask the Russians (they are also over here fishing off Newfoundland) for advice on how to deal with trespassers on our waters.

Russian patrol fires on Japanese fishing boat

NL-ExPatriate said...

Mt Perligan as much as I would like to agree with you on your promotion of the NL first party as a possible route I look at the Block Quebecois with a possible 75 seats and see what they have been able to accomplish nothing.

The problem as I see it is our political system is inherantly flawed and can't be changed from within.

By continueing to try and use our present political system as a ways and means to change the system we are getting nowhere. What needs to be done is for the people to not vote for the present political system that is the only way it will ever change. By votingh for the system you are only lending credence and coninuing the vicious cycle.

By not voting for change federally the peopel will be speaking louder and clearer that they the people aren't happy with the present political system and therefore the system has to change because democracy by its very nature is supposed to be by the people for the people and if the people don't vote for it then it has to change to suit the people.

Don't vote federally for change!

All of the Grand Banks or no thanks Canada!