Mr. Boyd’s letter in our last blog post generated some interesting response. It seems that many Newfoundlands and Labradorians are not ready to accept the notion of a dead fishery.
One of our members Dean P. has been in tune with changes in the Fishery. Although there is a trend in seeing the fishery go to bigger centralized means, ie: the processors and government interests, he is non-the-less reminded of the efforts of groups like the Fogo Island Coop. He describes the Fogo Island Coop as “one of those much needed facilities that rose from the ocean to solve a local economic problem.” Indeed the Labrador Fisheries Union Shrimp Company Ltd. is another such example of a community taking control of a resource that has sustained them for centuries. Dean warns; “If we don’t start to take back our rights we will loose all communities on the coast - factory trawlers will be seen on the fishing shoals and you won't be allowed to catch a fish!”
The answers lie in an insistence on policy that supports our rural communities, suggests Ron W., another of our members. As an example he suggests: Government/the people should aim to own 100% of the Cod quota. He suggests this would take a lot of years, as current quota holders would have to be grandfathered out. "Government could distributes an equal Cod quota to EVERY Newfoundland and Labrador citizen allowing for quotas to be traded between Newfoundlanders and Labradorians however they see fit and as many times as they wish" Ron suggests. Rebuilding a barter system that has been integral to the survival of many of our communities throughout our history. "Secondly Cod quota can be sold to an incorporated business only once (possibly twice as there might be a demand for a middle man between fishers and processors)". Ron’s suggestions would do a couple of important things to the mindset of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, most importantly it would instantly attach the cod fish to every Newfoundlander and Labradorians life (even if you just wanted to sell your quota for cash as soon as you got it).
Ron and Dean have both asked for feedback on their thoughts. Can we as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians reevaluate the fishery in these terms? Should we? Is there a future in the fishery, for our rural communities especially? We’d love to hear your thoughts (info at clccnl.ca).
I have a follow up article from Mr. Boyd that I will be posting to the CLCC’s blog in the coming days. Stay tuned. And keep the feedback coming.