Friday, August 27, 2010

Field Notes: Community-Supported Fisheries - Why They Matter (reprinted with permission)

Reprinted with permission from a publication of The Island Institute

Community Linkages strongly supports Community Supported Fisheries.  It is a concept that politial scientists like the figurehead of the Association of Seafood Producers will tell you is a pipe dream.  The fact that Derek Butler is also the name behind the ASP, a key player in the present MOU that aims to reinvent Newfoundland and Labrador's fishery might play a significant role in his opinion.  The ASP of course being the group who punishes the Community Supported Fishery of Fogo Island when they had the nerve to offer fisherman a modest pay for crab last year.

This message is to the political scientists, the multi-million dollar lobbyists, and the corporate interests who would ship our ocean resources away unprocessed, in bulk so the money can be made by them and them alone.

Community Based Fishery has a stronger place for harvesters, for the union of harvesters, for plant workers, and for the communities involved.  There is less of a place for those who would skim the proceeds off the top to the detrimant of the true stakeholders.

Consider these words from the article from the Island Institute:  "More than dialogue, CSFs have created the possibility for being a different kind of fisherman that experiments with cleaner gear, donates fish to community dinners, makes food available to food banks, hires neighbors to work delivering fish directly to customers."  For anyone with a sense of Newfoundland and Labrador history there is something both familiar and relatable in these words.

Field Notes: Community-Supported Fisheries - Why They Matter
by Rob Snyder

I just attended the Midcoast Fishermen's Association's (MFA) fish bake on August 22. If you missed it, don't let it happen again! Community members new, old and even a few young, piled into the town office down the St. George peninsula for a meal of steamed potatoes, breaded hake with Newberg sauce, salad, biscuits and enough desert to hold us diners over until spring. All of it, served up by fishing families that are working to change the trajectory of an industry.

Perhaps more than anything else, the fishing families in Port Clyde became well known because they launched the nation's first community-supported fishing (CSF) operation, selling shares of their fish to consumers ahead of the fishing season based on the community-supported agriculture model. Most of the major newspapers in the United States caught wind of the CSF idea being jumped into action. In fact, there has been little need to spend any money on advertising for the past two years because this idea captured the national imagination.

Why is the community-supported fisheries idea so important?

For the past 34 years-the entirety of the history of fisheries management-there has been one dominant framework for thinking about the ocean. Let's call it the fish/fishermen relationship. Problems with how the ocean is managed? Manage fishermen's behavior better or count fish better. For three and a half decades, rules have been devised that restrict the time fishing (days at sea), the pounds of fish that can be caught (quota management), the social institutions that shape behavior (sectors), and the gear that can be used. All of this focused on fishermen's behavior. All the while, stock assessment science has been through its own evolution that improves our ability to estimate the number of fish in the sea.

Logical? Yes. But it has had another consequence that has been tragic.

If the only discussion that can exist about fishermen and fish involves a management relationship, then there is almost no opportunity to talk about fishermen as a source of local food, as contributors to healthy diets, finding solutions to hunger, and as part of a community economy. Instead, the only discussion to be had is around how exploiters must be managed and fish must be counted more accurately.

The brilliance of the community-supported fisheries concept is that it takes all that has been deemed external to the fish/fishermen relationship and brings these factors into discussions about the ocean. In other words, CSFs enable entirely new dialogues about fish and fishermen that have not existed for decades. Health, community, conservation, the benefits of local foods, etc. become a part of discussions about the importance of healthy ocean resources.

More than dialogue, CSFs have created the possibility for being a different kind of fisherman in Port Clyde-one that experiments with cleaner gear, donates fish to community dinners, makes food available to food banks, hires neighbors to work delivering fish directly to customers, and much more. Furthermore, the CSF model has become a source of optimism for fishermen and thoughtful consumers around the country. In turn, the publicity and impact of the CSF model came full circle and impacted fisheries management in late 2009 when one of the fishermen in the Port Clyde community was appointed to the New England Fisheries Management Council.

On my way to the hake bake, I visited friends down the St. George peninsula. Unsolicited, they began to talk about all the fish they had been eating over the summer as a result of their CSF share. Three years ago they did not know who caught their fish. Today, they know a tremendous amount about fishermen, fish, local food, commercial fishing infrastructure, how to clean a fish and use a fish rack for soup stock, and they even ask on occasion about fisheries management.

Ultimately, CSF customers want to know if the fishermen in their community are going to survive. They, and hundreds of other CSF shareholders care, and this is perhaps the greatest achievement of all.

I would like to acknowledge discussions with Kevin St. Martin at Rutgers University for his contribution to ideas presented in this column.

Rob Snyder is executive vice-president at the Island Institute.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 becomes

Community Linkages has a new home on the web. is now moved to a more reliable server with a friendlier name. !

Set your bookmarks.  Same old face for now, but that's about to change also.

I'd love to have your rants, pics and thoughts to add - send it along.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

NAFO: The Ottawa Senators - The Ones without Skates.

Although perhaps the Senators with Skates may be slightly more popular and for the most part far more productive I have to admit from time to time the retirement home that is our senate does strike a chord.

Consider this article from "The House", wouldn't you love to hear honest truthful answers to these questions:

By the Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C.:

July 8, 2010—During the last parliamentary session, the government tabled a proposed treaty that would amend the Convention of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO).

Following depletion of many fish stocks off our Atlantic coast by foreign vessels, Canada in 1977 declared a 200- mile limit. NAFO then came into being to manage various fisheries outside or straddling the outer limit of Canada's zone.

Dominated by the European Union and other countries, NAFO has laid down a dismal record. Lax rules and poor co-operation have prevented recovery of badly depleted species.

Despite that history, the proposed treaty would open the new possibility under certain circumstances of NAFO managing chosen fisheries inside Canada's 200-mile zone. In those fisheries, NAFO would be telling Canadians what to do with regard to research, management, and fishing itself. And the treaty would heighten the chances of foreign vessels themselves fishing inside the zone.

Given NAFO's grim history, former top executives of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans campaigned publicly against the treaty. Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland and Labrador wrote the Prime Minister and all premiers to urge rejection. The bipartisan Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans urged delay and further study. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans called for rejection, as did the House itself in a recorded vote.

Despite that democratic opposition, the government announced, immediately after the House vote, that it had ratified the treaty.

Could the government of Canada provide the following information:

1. Why should this country open fisheries within the 200-mile limit, for which coastal communities and our nation fought so hard, to any possibility of foreign management?

2. Will the government confirm that, when the new NAFO treaty enters into force, it will open the possibility that NAFO could under certain circumstances manage particular fisheries right up to the very shores of Canada's Atlantic coast, including the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of St. Lawrence?

3. Does the government consider that opening this possibility of foreign management within our zone enhances Canadian sovereignty, and if so, in what way?

4. With a bipartisan Senate committee urging delay and a Commons committee and the House of Commons itself urging rejection, why did the government immediately approve the treaty without further discussion?

5. Will the government confirm that this was a cursory and disrespectful treatment of Parliament; and if it was not, in what way can it be said to have respected the views and the votes of parliamentarians?

6. Does the government intend to continue tabling treaties in Parliament, and if so, does it intend to consider respectfully the views of Parliament, or will it dismiss such views and votes as it sees fit without further discussion?

7. Does the government now reject and would it ignore any further parliamentary discussion on withdrawing from or ameliorating the proposed new treaty, before ratification by other parties brings it into force?

8. If the government does not reject such discussion, will it endorse or at least raise no objection to renewed parliamentary consideration of the treaty?


Monday, August 9, 2010

Renovations on the Flakehouse - The New Fishery

MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), Restructuring, Rationalization, Moritorium.  Do you ever get the feeling these are careful thought out words used by the powers that be to recreate a fishery that no longer belongs to us.  I mean, when do we as the people of this province sit and talk like that over a tea with Aunt May, or a whiskey with Skipper John.  Truth is someone else now controls the fishery, and we are letting it go.  The resource that sustained Rural Newfoundland and Labrador for centuries "rationalized" to a business model that sees businesses gain and communities lose.

The trully sad part is that we are told that this is the only way, by the same people who sit and think of words like Moritorium and Rationalization.  But let's get our heads back on straight.  The co-op model of Fogo Island is a successful community venture, born of necessity but fed on innovation.  Can we be so bold as to reclaim our birthright?  Can we afford not to?

Communities need to have a say into any restructuring of the fishery period.  We are, each of us, the primary stakeholder.  Why then are we the forgotten stakeholder.

Minister Jackman is to be congratulated for finally acknowleding that the people of our rural communities need to be heard on the fishery.  Unfortunately he suggested the time to be heard is after the restructuring.  After business has had it's voice heard load and clear and recorded in official documentation minister Jackman thinks it will be enough to go to the wharf and let the average fisherman have his say.  He even brags that unofficially he has done this.  Unofficial dialogue outside the MOU between a fisherman and Minister with "no bureaucrats" will have as much strength as a third-hand teabag.

Where were you when they let let the rural fishery die?

Monday, July 5, 2010

DFOs Paper Tigers

DFO gives up on Newfoundland and Labrador, they abandon fisheries research and waits for us to die.

When we take the reigns and decide to do it ourselves DFO minister Gail Shea says she welcomes Newfoundland and Labrador doing it's own Fisheries research providing we get her permission. What is it called when a person does none of the work but demands to have final say? I am not sure if DFO imagines itself to be our masters or our pimps.

It's like hiring a painter to paint your house, they prime the walls and leave, 61 years later they come back to demand a say in the colour.

All Gail Shea has to offer is a rubber stamp.

DJ Fancey

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One Voice

Darren: Friends, Ray Johnson has a unique way of expressing in a few short words what often takes me a belaboured ramble.  I thought it appropriate to share these thoughts sent to be by the chair of Community Linkages, because in the end we are not a group but a collection of single voices with a common passion in our hearts:

A thought came to me I would like to share.

Back in the spring of 2009, Susan Boyle took the stage of Britian's Got Talent. Compared to other contestants, she was plain-looking. No one expected much when she raised the microphone to her lips. But then she began to sing. Spellbound, the judges were taken with the beauty and power of the voice that filled the auditorium as the audience stood to their feet cheering with delight.

Message as it relates to the above: Common folk like you and me take turns on the stage of life in front of the world's skeptical audience.

With this in mind, let us move forward but keeping in mind that some day our voice will be heard that will in some way reach an audience who will see the need to turn to us for guidence and turn things around for the betterment of Rual NL.  - RayJ

Everyone deserves a voice, add yours for rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Add your voice to Community Linkages.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Shrimp and Greens - A Lesson from our American Neighbours

In Newfoundland and Labrador we are saying: "You think the crab pricing negotiations were bad, wait until we have to deal with the shrimp!"

In New York (just a row in a skiff down the coast)  They are saying "...the biggest seasonal harvest since 1997. Because the harvest has exceeded the recommended maximum catch, regulators are closing the season Wednesday, more than three weeks earlier than originally planned."  and ''The market was certainly able to handle more volume at a higher price than last year''

What is different from New York to Newfoundland and Labrador?  The fishery of today in our Newfoundland and Labrador has done very well in making a good profit on the belief that the fishery is dead and harvesters should be more than glad to get their meager pittance for their catch.

It is time for Newfoundland and Labrador to reown our fishery.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Fisherman's Right

A discussion about the fishery is being hosted by Community Linkages:

The right of a Newfoundlander to catch, process and market fish from the sea will be our starting point, but any fishery issue related to rural Newfoundland can be raised. Special guests include Heather Manual and Gordon Slade. Also, Justin Libby from Port Clyde Fresh Catch will be in attendance to share fisher experiences from Maine.

Where: Petty Harbour Rec Centre
When: Thursday, April 1st, 2010
7:00pm – 8:30pm

Why: To share experiences and build a stronger advocacy group in the CLCC.

Please join us after the discussion for an informal get together starting at 8:30. There will be music, a full service bar and snacks.

For more information or to RSVP for the event please email Darren: djfancey at

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bishop's Falls makes top 5 in Hockeyville

If Bishop's Falls were to make it to number one in this year's Hockeyville competition it would bring $100,000 plus to this local community.

Have a mintue to make that happen? Fire off a few votes at

or give them a buzz at 1-866-533-8066 and for for Bishop's 01 (and a confirmation code)

Thanks everyone for helping,

Friday, January 22, 2010

Prorogue-ies (great with a sharp sauce)

There will be a protest Jan 23 in front of the Colonial Building to protest Harper's Proroguing of Parliament. (I wish I had the luxury of deciding if and when I wanted to work.)

Colonial Building
St. John's, NL
1pm Jan 23, 2010

Speakers, Mary Walsh, Pete Soucy, Lana Payne

all the best,
Community Linkages

Sunday, January 17, 2010

EMF Education No Small Task

Gerry Higgins of Norris Arm is pushing a stone up a hill. His battle to educate and inform about the dangers of exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) has been at times a lonely one.

There are a couple of big hurdles that faces Mr. Higgins on his quest, not the least of which is our society's complete acceptance of the tech world. If you think about it how often throughout the day are you within a few yards of electronics? How close is the transformers outside your house? How much of the day is your ear connected to a cordless or cellular phone? The modern world bathes us in EMF radiation on a daily basis. There lies Mr. Higgins biggest hurdle in his public appeal. No one is prepared to do without the conveniences of our connected world.

It was with that reservation that I and some of my collegues from Community Linkages met with Mr. Higgins to talk EMF. After speaking with him I have a new perspective. My change of heart comes from a couple of primary factors, not the least of which is the personality and experience of Mr. Higgins himself. Mr. Higgins is very polite and softspoken, his debate backed by the credibility of scientific experts the world over, and he is no longer alone in his crusade. The issue of the negetative effects of EMF exposure on human physiology gaining validity in the scientific community and his campaign, it is discovered, has a far wider reach than one man from Norris Arm asking questions.

The true eye-opener for me though in speaking with Mr. Higgins is that he is not a man preaching a doomsday senario. With an assortment of documents, EMF readers and gauges he shows how small changes can reduce our EMF exposure. Proximity affects EMF, our "quality" of electricity affects EMF, the amount of wireless devices, types and intensity of audio visual equipment and lighting... an audit of your home and workplace could tag all of these potential hazards.

What Mr. Higgins is advocating is simple. An independent study of the effects of EMF in our lives. This would be a tremendous start. Recognizing the extent of EMF radiation we can then take the necessary steps to reduce that exposure. In that effort Mr. Higgins has not been without some success. He tells the CLC that Light and Power in his hometown of Norris Arm has already moved 23 poles and transformers up to 1/4 mile from his house. He shows with pride letters from mayors proclaiming EMF awareness month. They are signed by Norris Arm Major Fred Budgell, David Saunders mayor of Colwood BC and the mayor of the capital city Doc O'Keefe amoung others. The certificate proclaims in part "whereas EM Sensitivity is recognized by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian government... and the Americans with Disabilities Act... and the illness may be preventable...[the undersigned] proclaims Electromagnetic Sensitivy Month.

When we consider how in a short lifetime we have gotten rid of Asbestos insulation, lead paint on children's toys, and leaded gasoline it is not a stretch to anticipate a world where building codes, municipal planners, and government energy policy is built around reducing our EMF exposure. We live in a world which is far more knowledgeable of the environmental factors that can negatively impact our children's growth and development; peanut-free snack foods and fragrence free buildings where onheard of in my youth. As a boy I sat in the back of a pick-up truck where there was no seatbelt, and tried as best I could to keep the ashes from my uncle's cigarettes from landing on my peanut butter cookies. Times change.

Given the momentum of Mr. Higgins' campaign I suspect that before too long he will have made the crest of the hill with the stone he is pushing. We can only hope that as an educated society we are prepared for the momentum on the downward roll.

DJ Fancey for Community Linkages

Note: Stay tuned for further developments from Community Linkages and Gerry Higgins on EMF education.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help Haiti - Quick and Easy

Texting the word HAITI to 45678 from any Rogers Wireless or Bell Mobility phone donates $5. See the Salvation Army site here for this initiative.

Your CLC

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hearn Fires off at Newfoundlanders and Labradorians Fighting for our Fisheries

Letter from Loyola Hearn reprinted with permission from the Telegram, Dec 12 2009 - Response from Community Linkages' Secretary follows.

Firing Back on the NAFO deal
The Telegram

I would like to respond to a letter in your paper on Dec. 19 by Ray Johnson, entitled "Taking a stand." While the whole article is filled with misinformation and untruths, I would like to concentrate on one paragraph.

Mr. Johnson states that the recent decision by the Government of Canada to ratify the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) convention "goes against scientific evidence, industry experts, former fisheries management officials, industry watchdogs and the people who are dependent on this multi-billion-dollar marine habitat and coastal environments."

Nothing could be further from the truth. While some former bureaucrats have spoken out against the new measures, independent, Canadian legal experts are supportive. The new changes respect scientific evidence as it was the basis that necessitated change. Industry experts and the people dependent on the resource are not only supportive but played an integral part in achieving change. It is passing strange that we pay a lot more attention to former bureaucrats and not nearly enough to the current experts who have a direct stake in the future fishery. The changes to the convention were not imposed upon us from afar.

They were achieved by the hard work and dedication of the Canadian delegation to NAFO, a delegation made up mainly of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, led by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and directed by a Newfoundland and Labrador team.

The delegation was comprised of industry leaders, representatives of the harvesters and processors (including Earle McCurdy, FFAW and Ray Andrews our Newfoundland and Labrador NAFO commissioner), agencies working for the whole offshore groundfish industry and offshore shrimp industry, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and other current, tuned-in experts. They are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians fighting for changes that protect our industry, protect the fish stocks and yes, protect the coastal communities that depend so much on these resources.

It might also be pointed out that these changes, made over the past three years, were achieved by the Harper government in full consultation with, and active participation by the total industry, provincial governments and supported openly and publicly by Atlantic-wide and Nunavut industry interests, the Fisheries Council of Canada and major environmental groups, including the World Wildlife Fund.

Improvements in surveillance, monitoring and control, mainly as a result of Canadian leadership internationally and major capital investments in our coast guard, have cemented these gains which are first steps in rebuilding this industry. The beneficiaries are all those who depend on the resource, Canadians generally, but more specifically Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Finally, let me say to Mr. Johnson, to suggest that foreigners can enter, fish or manage the resources within our 200-mile limit is being devious and is completely untrue.

If Mr. Johnson is really interested in protecting coastal communities, I suggest, rather than trying to prevent progress towards this goal, he should support those of us who not only care, but are doing something about it.

Loyola Hearn


Response to Mr. Hearn:

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,

Loyola Hearn's response on Dec 27 to Ray Johnson's article reads like copy from the Ottawa boardrooms. What is a little surprising is Mr. Hearn's insistence on toeing this line. To say that Mr. Johnson's article is filled with "misinformation and untruths" is the talk of the politician, unsubstantiated spin.

In particular Mr. Hearn felt the need to discredit Mr. Johnson in his saying that the NAFO Amendments "goes against scientific evidence, industry experts, former fisheries management officials, industry watchdogs and the people who are dependent on this multi-billion-dollar marine habitat and coastal environments." The Community Linkages group of which Mr. Johnson is chair has letters of opposition to NAFO from all seven Newfoundland and Labrador MPs, community fisheries advocates, the Fisheries Forum with Gus Etchegary and Dr. Phil Earle, Individual Municipalities in NL as well as Municipalities NL, Musicians, and concerned citizens from all over Newfoundland and Labrador. Indeed even the majority of MP's in Ottawa opposed it as does the coalition of Bill Rowat, Scott Parsons, Bob Applebaum and Earle Wiseman et al, the "former bureaucrats" that Mr. Hearn refers to.

Mr. Hearn is of course correct that there was a delegation of industry professionals including Newfoundland and Labradorians, the World Wildlife Fund and Earle McCurdy of the FFAW. It is misleading the public however to suggest that all of the members of the delegation to NAFO were instrumental in wording these final NAFO amendments and it is in fact misleading to suggest that this same delegation is now strongly supportive of the NAFO amendments. Where are the letters of support from Mr. McCurdy who has in fact said "I think (former fisheries minister) Loyola Hearn really did a disservice when he claimed that the proposed amendments to the NAFO convention amounted to custodial management, because that is absolute hogwash"?

And does Mr. Hearn think that the WWF is on his side? The WWF who just recently said "that NAFO undermines the recovery of the cod fishery." Lets hear the WWF's stance on the brand new allocation of 1070 tonnes of Cod for 13 Portuguese vessels on the Flemish Cap. Don't try to pretend that the WWF had a role in crafting this NAFO atrocity. There are headlines in Europe with smiley faced fisheries ministers applauding how great it is to once again have access to "Canadian Cod." Apparently there are tonnes of Cod, just not for us.

Mr. Hearn also suggests that Ray Johnson is "devious" and "untrue" to suggest that foreigners can enter, fish or manage the resources within our 200-miles. Let's read directly from the news release of Minister Shea
"[The amendments protect Canadians by] ensuring that Canada’s sovereign rights are fully protected and that NAFO has no mandate to take management decisions within Canada’s EEZ, unless Canada specifically requests a measure and specifically votes in favour of it." Unless! Unless! Mr. Hearn there can be no stipulation on Canadian Sovereignty, there can be no "unless"! To suggest that a "vote" in the house of commons is a degree of protection is nothing short of utter hypocrisy given that this government has overruled a parliamentary majority of 147 to 142 in order to pass these same NAFO amendments! Truth is our sovereignty is not shielded by the strength of a majority of MPs but is instead an open door at the whim of a select few who hold that power. This has been demonstrated clearly.

Loyola Hearn's puppet strings were all too visible in this rebuttal. The best that Mr. Hearn can truthfully say is that "we tried". The outcome of the effort though is a major backwards leap in the history of our fight for the fishery.

DJ Fancey
Secretary Community Linkages

NAFO contridicts Terms of Union M. Adams in the Telegram