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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Minister of Fisheries Sells Out National Interests.

I’d like to publicly call for an RCMP investigation into the whereabouts of Loyola Hearn. I don’t mean the guy parading around Ottawa pretending to be the Minister of Fisheries, no, in fact they should start the investigation by asking that guy, “Where is Mr. Hearn and what have you done with him?”

When Loyola Hearn sat in opposition he told anyone who would listen about what needed to be done to protect fish stocks. That was before he had the power to actually do anything so it was easier I guess. He shouted louder than anyone that taking control of the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap was the only way to protect species from foreign vessels bent on raping the ocean of every living thing. He pounded the table, fought in the trenches and bent the ear of anyone who would listen and it worked. It got him elected. That was then, this is now.

Where is that Loyola Hearn now? He certainly isn’t the same man who sits on the government side of the House and who now has the power to do something but isn’t. The powerless Mr. Hearn screamed that custodial management was the only solution. Now that the empowered Mr. Hearn has assumed the top job in fisheries he, like other MPs before him (Liberal John Efford immediately springs to mind) seems to feel that the best course of action is to side with the foreign affairs office and to represent Ottawa to his constituents rather than the other way around.

According to Mr. Hearn, if Canada took control of these nursery areas it might offend some of our trading partners. I don’t know about anyone else but I personally find it extremely offensive that our trading partners have no problem destroying fish habitat that Canadian fishermen depend on for centuries and I find it disgusting that Mr. Hearn is all too happy to let them do it.

For decades Canada has idly watched as a vital, vibrant and valuable resource has dwindled and died. For just as long politician after politician has done nothing about it. Now, instead of taking control and actually doing what he was elected to do, save a dying resource, protect fish stocks and help coastal fishing communities, Mr. Hearn has decided to simply give it all away once and for all and get it off his plate.

Instead of taking control of fishing practices the Canadian government has issued public tender calls in the U.S. for fishers to catch quotas of various species inside Canadian waters. They have also decided to use foreign patrols to police the area outside the 200 mile economic zone in an effort to identify illegal fishing vessels. Fishing vessels that are subsidized by the same governments who own the patrol boats and who pay the salaries of those now being assigned to arrest and prosecute the offenders.

Rather than fighting for custodial management, Mr. Hearn has signed a much touted agreement with NAFO which he claims will protect fish stocks. The new deal would see illegal vessels boarded however the captain of the rogue vessel will be permitted to decide where in the world he wishes to dock and enforcement officers have no choice but to leave the rogue vessel if requested to do so. Oh, I almost forgot the best part. The government that subsidized the illegal fishing activity in the first place will determine the punishment to be meted out. Does this sound like a good system to anyone except Loyola Hearn and perhaps the Minister of Foreign Affairs?

Adding insult to injury, Mr. Hearn most recently decided that even though most of the world supports a UN sponsored ban on bottom dragging fishing gear, gear known to strip the sea bed clean and leave nothing but a lifeless wasteland behind, his government will not support it. Hell, even George W., not a man known for his level of intelligence, recognizes that this ban as a no-brainer. Apparently Loyola H. doesn’t.

Instead of supporting the ban, Mr. Hearn has once again taken the side of rogue nations known for their destructive activities on the high seas in areas including very Grand Banks nurseries he claims to be protecting. Hearn isn’t actually saying he supports foreign fishing fleets over his own countrymen though. Instead he is attempting to put a different spin on it by saying that the science doesn’t provide all the information needed for him to support a ban. I guess the old adage, “Perception is Reality” was never truer.

Mr. Hearn has taken his stance even though documents released by DFO just this summer show that the trawl gear can strip the ocean floor so clean that it can take hundreds of years to recover, if it does at all. It also shows that some species never return to those areas after the destruction has taken place. Unfortunately the same document also says that since it can take centuries for the environment to rebuild itself the studies done to date, which only cover only a few decades, do not tell the whole story. I guess this is the lack of full scientific information he refers too.

It looks like our government intends to study this issue for several more centuries so they can see for themselves what happens when you run a massive scraper over a fragile sea bed. Maybe they’re depending on Loyola’s great, great grandson to make the call on bottom dragging. I doubt he’ll have too though because at the rate the fish stocks and the ocean floor itself are being destroyed there won’t be any fish left to protect in a couple of decades. Good work Mr. Hearn.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your MINISTER.


YOU ELECTED HIM.

LMOA



=======

Anonymous said...

You newfies sure know how to pick good representatives, just goes to show how easily you newfies can be co-opted. Keep up the good work!

Steve said...

I personally didn't elect him. As for electing useless officials I simply ask the anons who commented to tell me which riding they live in. I bet your MP is a real winner huh? Who elected him or her jackass, was it you?

Anonymous said...

OH NO


You poor little newfies.

AGAIN?



Cry a little bit more. Keep those tears coming.

Maybe if you just ignore this mean old man, he will go away.

Anonymous said...

AND who/what are you going to blame for this one?

Let's see..... Stephen Harper
or maybe Ralph Klein

maybe the seals.....

or maybe the animal rights people.


Keep up the GRRREAT WORK!!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Patriot said...

The preceeding comment was deleted due to the graphic language contained within it.

Anonymous said...

Just because a person is FROM Newfoundland doesn't mean they are going to bat for Newfoundland everytime. That would wrong. That would not be fair representation for the whole country.

A Newfoundland politician in Ottawa still has to follow the same rules and regulations as anyone else. You vote for the Party ---not for where the candidate happened to be born.

Grow up already. You think that ANY polictician is going to go against his Party??
It's easy to rant in the Opposition when you NEVER HAVE TO FOLLOW THROUGH!

Steve said...

I see Stephen Harper managed to get a comment in as Anon. According to the last yahoo it's fine to campaign by saying one thing and then do the opposite once in power, regardless of a politiican is from NL or not.

Here's a question for you:

If much of the world sees bottom dragging as a menace to the oceans, if the UN is trying to ban it, if Canada does not take part in high sees dragging themselves and if the very fishermen (from provinces outside NL as well as inside it) that the minister claims to be protecting are in favour of the ban and if the scientific evidence says it is destructive, what in your opinion makes this move by the government right? Is it because NLers disagree with it?

Jeanne MacDonald said...

Who is surprised, really? Loyola Hearn was Minister of Education in this province back in the '80s, but you will notice he also went along with Harper's slash-and-burn policy on literacy funding. When party policy collides with principle, you know which is going down.

Anonymous said...

Exactly my point Jeanne!

Just because he's a Newfoundlander doesn't mean he's any better or more trustworthy than any other politician.

Just look at Danny Williams! Dictator on the Rocks.

Anonymous said...

You newfies are always whining about the Atlantic fishery, how Ottawa is doing you wrong. Has it not occured to you that you have to take some of the responsibility for your plight? The DFO scientists reccomend a quota which is based on a sustainable harvest and your fishers cry that it isn't enough, so they go to their member and threaten or cajole to get their own way. I remember a news story from some years back where Newfie fishers were dumping cod that they had caught in some form of protest. It didn't occur to these neanderthals that this was wastefull.

You have an over capacity of fish processing plants and yet you want more plants....DUHHHHHHH. Basically, the only reason for the over capcity of plants, is to provide an excuse for newfies to qualify for the dole anyways.

Patriot said...

You know, the last Anon might have thought he was being cruel and running us down in his comments but he actually raised some valid points (even with his condescending attitude and childish use of the term "Newfie")

Believe it or not ANON, we do understand our province better than you. However I agree that the over abundence of fish plants was simply a way to take advantage of the EI system (I wrote an article about that very subject earlier this year).

I also agree that some in the fishing industry do indeed apply pressure to politicians for bigger quotas than the science would warrant. I don't beleive it is right however and I don't believe the politicians should be in a position to use this fact to curry favour with voters.

You may be trying to paint us all as idiots here but in reality you might be surprised how many of us are actually aware of our internal issues and are trying to do something about them.

This is why I find your sort of stereotyping so offensive.

Thanks for the comments if not the way they were presented.

Anonymous said...

Patriot - Why the abundance of fish plants? Governments don't spend money without a reason. You see during the time the fish plants were added, it was during that time Ottawa was gaining a firmer and firmer grip on the fish quotas and what could be done with that fish resource to make Canada into a stronger country both economically and a country with more foreign affairs clout. It was during that time that more monies were doled out for EI and it was during that time when the countries off Newfoundland and Labrador's waters increased from four, Portugal, Spain, France and England to many countries countries representing almos all the continents on earth. North Ameirca, South America, Europe, Asia, Greenland, Australia. I am not sure whether Afirca is represented there but the others are. These waters were accustomed to seeing 4 nations and now they are so many, I am not sure that we know who is out there.

Ottawa would never have given out the Employment Insurance to just to appease fishers. These fishers fish all their lives up to the 1970s without receiving EI, and they would have fished forever if things had been left alone. They would have eventually have figures out how to make big industry out of their resource. There was another reason obviously and that is why all those nations appeared off our coast.
It is a shocking state of affairs that which happened to the enormous fish resource that this province brough to Canada. And it is a shocking state of affairs what happened to our fishers who depended on that resource and had depended on it for 450 years before we had joined Canada.

I say the Federal Dept. of Foreign Affairs and International Trade have a lot to answer for. I would like for that subject to be brought to the forefront by our politicians and let us discuss it.

Edgar said...

NL should team up with WWF and Greenpeace to ban the seal hunt and then ban the deep water or any water for that matter, bottom trawling methods. NL could use the marketing and lobbying strategies that Greenpeace and the WWF employ and NL could provide an environmentally friendly model of green tourism and a renewable resource base fishery, ie hook and line.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead, ban bottom trawling, your only going to hurt yourselves!

NL-ExPatriate said...

How is Banning bottom (Moratorium) dragging on our continental shelf the Nose, Tail, Flemish Cap. Which encompasses 40% of our continental shelf a bad thing for the people who live adjacent to and reap a livlyhhood from it such a bad thing?

The federation of provinces called Canada even says so themselves that canada doesn't do much bottom dragging either inside or outside the 200 mile of our continental shelf.

You can't have it both ways canada.

60% of the worlds bottom dragging takes place on our continental shelf most of which is done by foreign nations on the NT&FC with canada's blessing if not outright promotion as in the recent call for tenders in the US for quotas on the NT&FC. 200 100 metree long fatory freezer draggers are going night and day on the 40% of our continental shelf which lies outside the 200 mile limit. Catching everything from lump fish to cod a majority of which is thrown back because it isn't commercially viable species but gets thrown back dead. Then there is the indescriminant destructive damage being caused by destroying the bottom and biodiversity of the habitat.

We are already under moratorium inside the 200 mile limit so as to protect the quotas which are being taken on the NT&FC 40% continental shelf.

60% of 40% = 100% DESTRUCTION

moratorium said...

Some people seem to be confused about the issue here. A U.N. moratorium on high seas bottom trawling would only cover international waters and would not be a ban. Because Canadians don't bottom trawl in international waters, a moratorium would have no effect on Canadian fishermen. It would be a temporary moratorium to give scientists time to find the fragile marine habitat before it is destroyed by dragging. Loyola Hearn wants to protect this habitat but he doesn't realize that it takes a lot of scientific effort and money to find these habitats. His plan is backwards in that you can't protect something if you don't know where it is.

While the U.K., Australia and many other country leaders (including George Bush) are listening to scientists that say that a temporary moratorium is needed, Loyola Hearn seems to be ignoring common sense and scientific evidence, which is embarrassing.

You can see scientists, fishermen, and other Canadians supporting a moratorium at www.deepseas.blogspot.com

WJM said...

60% of the worlds bottom dragging takes place on our continental shelf

What is the source for this "statistic"?

How is it measured? Number of ships? Tons of catch? Number of trawls?

WJM said...

Still waiting for an answer:

60% of the worlds bottom dragging takes place on our continental shelf

What is the source for this "statistic"?

How is it measured? Number of ships? Tons of catch? Number of trawls?