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Monday, June 09, 2008

Nearshore Habitats: Sanctuary for Juvenile Cod

A news release from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) this week talks the need to understand the habitat required to promote and protect the survivability of juvenile cod. The release contains a wealth of information about survival rates and the location of the best “nurseries”. To the Scientists who recently uncovered this valuable information, I offer my heart felt thanks. It’s the sort of data needed if cod are to stand any chance of recovering. As for the officials at DFO, I offer anything but my thanks.

One paragraph in the self congratulatory release provides the best example of just how dysfunctional DFO is.

“When Newfoundland and Labrador's waters were teeming with Atlantic cod, there wasn't any pressing need to know about all the factors involved in guaranteeing that each generation of cod would produce sufficient replacements to sustain a robust fishery. The bounty was seemingly endless. It's a completely different story now. The collapse of the fishery in the early 1990s imposed a stark new reality on the industry and the people whose livelihoods depend upon it, and it is now crucial to understand every aspect of the cod's life cycle and what factors influence or inhibit its ability to survive to adulthood. While the effects of fishing upon the adult cod are fairly well documented, those of the environment upon a young cod's survivability are not. This is a new area of research - and it has to be built from the ground up, because next to nothing is known.”Can you believe the audacity of this bunch?

What have they been doing for the past 60 years, clearly not managing the fishery?

If they were managing the fish stocks from a conservation point of view wouldn’t they have known long ago where young cod grow and survive best? Why has it taken a collapse in the fishery and the intervening years of near zero recovery for them to figure out that they needed to enter into this, “…new area of research”?

Clearly DFO has been managing the fishery from a purely commercial perspective, rather than an environmental one, and they haven’t done much of a job at that. Even efficient commercial management should have led them to the simple conclusion that you can’t continue to fish without understanding the resource that is the basis of the industry. The collapse of the industry is proof enough of that and speaks volumes about their management techniques.

The saddest thing is they still don’t get it. When an official news release contains the line, “When Newfoundland and Labrador's waters were teeming with Atlantic cod, there wasn't any pressing need to know about all the factors involved in guaranteeing that each generation of cod would produce sufficient replacements...” it says everything that needs to be said about the attitude at DFO.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, as long as the fishery is controlled by DFO the cod don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell.


Anonymous said...

As long as Newfoundland politicians and union leaders demand more and more fish, they don't stand a chance either.

I'd trust DFO before I'd put any credence in any local politicians, that's for sure.

Calvin said...

Myles ,as long as the Federal Governement of Canada has control of our continental shelf there should be presure placed on that Government to renegotiate confederation.

The election was fixed.

Anonymous said...

As long as Ottawa utilizes the 'fish quotas' over which it has complete control to garner International Trade for the Manufacturing Industry and other Central Canadian industries, and as an APPEASEMENT to press out the wrinkles of External Affairs debacles which occur on a regular basis, there will never be a recovery of the fish stocks to their former status. The 'fish resource' has become near extinct due to the over-fishing pressures which were applied and was aided and abetted SOLELY by Ottawa. Who else can be blamed for that tragedy?

It was and still is the Ottawa Government, which has the fish resource in its possession, and the fish resource can only be prosecuted with the blessing of Ottawa, since it is the Ottawa Government which metes out fish quotas, and you can be darn well sure it is not doling out a coveted valuable resource, and receiving nothing in return.

For those of you who believe that Ottawa gives away such a valuable resource as the coveted "Fish Resource" with no payment in return, please re-adjust your thinking!

With the Ownership of the "Fish Resource" completely in Ottawa's hands, it can only be likened to the equivalent of owning a Chartered Bank. It was and still is a license to print money for whatever industry it wants to promote.