Saturday, December 19, 2009

Portuguese Happy to be Back Fishing Newfoundland Cod

Portuguese Minister Antonio Serrano announced the renewal of fleet access to Canadian waters. (Photo: MARM)

Some 13 vessels of the Portugal fleet will once again operate in Canadian waters and fish 1,070 tonnes of cod as of next year, thanks to the re-opening of an area administered by the North West Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO).

“After 11 years [of the zone being closed], we recovered the quota of NAFO cod,” said Portuguese Fisheries Minister Antonio Serrano.

The Portuguese boats set to work in NAFO waters have an average capacity of 900 tonnes of fish.

Apparently the Cod are back - and anyone but the Newfoundlander and Labradorian can have it. Gail Shaea was quick to dispute that. Apparently Canada's Fishery Minister and the Portuguese Fishery Minister have a different take on things. They both seem happy enough though.

When Portuguese Cod fillets show up in Sobeys Gail Shea will be the first to get her fee and chee. So we may not be able to fish for our own cod, but maybe the white fleet will come ashore and buy a bottle of bakeapple jam or a wooden outhouse ornament - so at least we have that.

R.I.P The Fighting Newfoundlander

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


In the world of fisheries there is a widely accepted belief that the best to manage the resource are those who are closest to it. This is the simple concept behind what is commonly referred to as "Custodial Management."

The World Wildlife Fund for example has stated: "Since 2005, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had advised Canada to drop the NAFO agreement, because it does not protect the fish at risk, such as cod and flounder, and instead to adopt "... a new Regional Fisheries Management Organization." Canada's response was to officially adopt NAFO. The WWF stated last year that NAFO undermines the recovery of the cod fishery."

Indeed out current Prime Minister Steven Harper promised it.

Why then do we now find ourselves with a NAFO convention that not only does not give us custodial management but in fact does the opposite - deferring management from the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador and even away from Canada as a whole. Instead marine management in the Northwest Atlantic now will be handled by NAFO - primarily European Nations who just last year banned our seal products and as the WWF eludes to above, they consistently overfish their own quotas.

Why would Harper defer management of the 200 mile limit to European Nations and take it out of Ottawa's jurisdiction?!

Here my friends is the frank and honest truth. Someone has to keep an eye on Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and Ottawa doesn't want that kind of expense.

Even if that means having the panty-hose Spanish trawlers like the Estai policing our vessels.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Prime Minister Threatens Sovereignty in the East

Even though amendments to NAFO got voted down 147 to 142 my Members of Parliment from across this country.

Even though all MPs from Newfoundland and Labrador have been strongly opposed to the NAFO amendment.

Even though fisheries experts and industry professionals have been shouting their disapproval.

Even though the amendments amount to an obvious breach in the sovereignty of the East, allowing foreign vessels to patrol Canadians in their own waters.

Even though NAFO itself shows a consistent disregard for quotas and even the conservation advice of its own scientists.

Even though NAFO has at its core European nations who this year banned seal products from the East Coast of Canada.

Even through all this - Harper pushes the NAFO amendments through. In what country would the leader dare go against the will of the people? None that call themselves a democracy. Canada under Harper is the globe's newest dictatorship.

Monday, December 7, 2009

This Week Could Change our Fishery Forever

NAFO amendments debates are due to resume today in Ottawa, following the abrupt halt of debate last week. The implications would see EU nations policing our vessels, continueing to make their own quotas and in fact becoming the custodians of the fishery that we have fought for generatuions. Message to Ottawa - when we say Custodial Management we meant for Newfoundland and Labrador not for Europeans in Newfoundland and Labrador waters.

From MP Jack Harris to Community Linkages:

"I am pleased to take this opportunity to ensure [you] of my support for the campaign to oppose the amendments to the NAFO Convention.

As you know, I was part of the meeting hosted at the Delta in September by the Community Fisheries Alliance which raised the alarm publicly about what these amendments could mean for both for Canadian sovereignty and for the sustainability of fishing stocks. At that meeting I voiced my own concerns about the failure to achieve custodial management as we heard from Gus Etchegary, Bob Applebaum, Bill Rowatt and Scott Parsons of their well considered views of the problems caused by the new amendment.

...When the matter came before the House, through a report from the Fisheries Committee recommending that the amendments not be ratified and for an objection to be filed with NAFO, the government shut down the debate before I could speak. Nevertheless, I was able to raise the matter in the House the next day. This Monday, December 7th, I will have a full opportunity to speak once again against these amendments when the debate resumes on the Fisheries Committee report.

It is expected that the report will be voted on in Parliament next week."

Fisheries Minister Gail Shea has arrogantly told our Liberal Opposition Leader Yvonne Jones "It's a done deal."

Only the will of the Newfoundlander and the Labradorian has the right to determine "done deals" off our shores.

Issue of Sovereignty

List of MPs, Musicians, Groups, and industry professionals who have identified the NAFO amendments a bad deal.