Random thoughts on a Friday

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• So it seems the General Court of the EU has decided to uphold the ban on seal products. There is much ranting being carried out by both those who support and those who oppose sealing in the wake of the decision — but does that court decision really change anything all that much? Most in the industry say, not really. It is a hindrance, but not necessarily a huge one.

• On a related note, it seems a couple of laddy-o’s grabbed some sealskin coats from a St. John’s store this week and made a run for it in broad daylight (they got away with one coat worth more than $3,000). And who says there’s no demand for sealskin products? I guess we can scratch Becky Aldworth off the suspect list?

• I’m always stumping for coordinated marketing and branding of NL seafood, but I’m not holding my breath it will ever happen. After I recently mused that everyone should suck it up and get on with it, a government person chastised me for my suggestion that government needed to drive the marketing bus by reminding me about the NL Salt Fish Corp; a processor sniped at me suggesting they would prefer to market their own products, thanks very much; and a harvester told me he had concerns that too much of the cost and responsibility for marketing would be downloaded to the man in the boat. So, yeah…I guess we’ll be fishing and selling seafood in bulk for a while yet.

• For once, I have to give the federal government credit. DFO has decided it will no longer print and distribute its Notices to Mariners, List of Lights and Radio Aids to Navigation. They will just be putting them online in PDF form. Now that could have been a problem because the Transport Canada rules say you must have those publications on your boat. Turns out Transport Canada is entirely okay with mariners having those documents on a computer onboard the vessel in digital (PDF) format. For once, it all actually makes sense. See? I’m not a total cynic.

• Interesting that the price for crab is set at $1.83 plus 17 cents per pound after a heated protest by the union that included a tie up and the dumping of crab on Random Island. What’s interesting about that? Well how about the fact that almost every harvester outside the fray I’ve spoken to say they had already negotiated a price for their crab with processors before the protest — and that price was, yep, $1.83 plus 17 cents bonus.

• With the crab fishery price settled and harvesting underway (with good returns in many areas I’m told) the next big story will be the price for shrimp, which should come down any day now. Should be an interesting decision.

• I had high hopes for Darin King when he was named Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister. I thought a cocky, smug, take-no-prisoners, my-way-or-the-highway sh-t-disturber was just what the doctor ordered. Some were even suggesting he was a possible future premier. You would probably be hard pressed to find anyone with that opinion right now though. He had a brief and unremarkable term in fisheries; and since becoming Justice Minister and Government House Leader the highlights have been screwing up budget cuts to his department (cuts that had to be reversed, kind of) and the slapstick-level bungling of that ridiculous attack on NDP MHA Gerry Rogers over her Facebook affiliations. Not exactly a hot streak for anyone with top chair ambitions.

• Speaking of hot streaks, has there ever been a flameout quite as spectacular as Peter Penashue’s? You know he’s playing his final card when he tried to blow smoke up the arses of Labradorians about how he stuck it to the island portion of the province for their benefit (i.e. holding back funding for a project here until something there was green-lighted). That political trick usually plays out in Labrador the way the “us against Ottawa” nonsense plays out here, but I have a feeling this time may not be quite as effective.

• If you haven’t done so already, go out and get a copy of Jim Wellman’s new book, “Sea Folk.” The book, featured in a story in the pages of The Telegram last weekend, is a collection of more than 20 articles that have appeared in The Navigator about some of the amazing folks connected to the sea in Atlantic Canada. Yes it is a shameless self-promotion, but it’s a good read about interesting people.

Jamie Baker is the managing editor for The Navigator magazine, www.thenavigatormagazine.com

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