Fishermen should be listened to – Cowichan Valley Citizen
I always love a story where someone figuratively fights with City Hall and wins.
It’s a typical David vs. Goliath story and everyone else [or almost everyone] rejoices when the little guy triumphs over seemingly insurmountable odds.
This appears to be the case as the island’s shrimp fishermen take a stand against what seems to me to be an arbitrary and bureaucratic decision by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans of Canada to change the regulations regarding the harvest of spotted shrimp, which is now making the sale. frozen blue shrimp at sea
Shrimp fishermen, who derive much of their income from local markets, could suffer a significant financial blow if these new rules are enforced and launch what appears to have become an increasingly successful campaign to overturn the regulations.
Thanks to the efforts of many, including Alistair MacGregor, Member of Parliament for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, the federal Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has agreed to conduct an emergency review of the regulations and hopefully common sense. will prevail and the new rules will prevail. be reversed. Unfortunately, that kind of common sense just didn’t seem to exist at DFO when northern cod stocks collapsed off the east coast of Canada in the early 1990s.
It is said that when Italian explorer John Cabot discovered Newfoundland leading an English expedition in 1497, the cod in the waters off the coast of that province was so thick that Cabot’s ship could not have them. to cross.
The cod fishery was the lifeblood of Newfoundland’s economy for hundreds of years after that, but when the province joined Confederation in 1949, management of the stocks shifted to Ottawa and things started to change quickly for the worse. Subsequent Canadian governments viewed cod stocks as inexhaustible and began using them as poker chips in their myriad of trade deals with countries around the world, and licensed huge foreign industrial trawlers to the region in the 1960s and 1970s, which began to scoop cod out of the water. at unimaginable prices.
In the 1980s, inshore fishermen who had spent their lives fishing at sea for a living began to raise concerns with DFO that their cod catches were getting smaller and smaller, as well as the size. caught fish, and began to point fingers at the fish. huge trawlers [not all of which were foreign by this time] as the cause.
These concerns were largely dismissed by DFO “scientists” who spent years explaining that stock declines were, among other things, cyclical in nature and that armchair “experts” said they would come back in force. future seasons.
But stocks continued to decline until, finally, in 1992, DFO and the federal government finally had to admit that they had been wrong for many years about the state of the cod population, and closed the fishery, thus putting thousands of people who depended on it. unemployed.
I was working for a newspaper in a Newfoundland fishing area at the time, and the sites I saw over the next two years, as it became apparent that there was no quick fix. to the problem, were heartbreaking. I have seen entire communities nail down the windows of their homes, which were practically unsalable after the collapse of cod stocks and the economy, and set off in convoys to what they hoped to be greener pastures in other parts of the province or of Canada.
Cod stocks never returned in marketable numbers, and I myself left Newfoundland a few years later to look elsewhere for a more prosperous future. That is why, to this day, I am deeply skeptical of many of the decisions DFO has made, and I hope the local shrimp fishermen succeed in overturning these reckless and stupid shrimp rules.