MP questions province’s leadership on fishery

Steve Bartlett
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Ryan Cleary

On the eve of the cod moratorium’s 20th anniversary, the MP for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl doesn’t think the provincial Tories have shown enough leadership on fisheries matters.

“I think of all the wonderful things Danny Williams did. He didn’t know rural Newfoundland and Labrador and he did not know the fishery,” federal New Democrat Ryan Cleary said.

“If he had to (have) champion(ed) the fishery like he did oil and gas, we would have seen headway. Under this (Kathy) Dunderdale adminstration, I’m also not seeing leadership in terms of rural Newfoundland and Labrador, the fishery.”

Cleary, a former journalist who covered the cod closure for The Telegram in 1992, made the comments during an interview for “Taking Stock,” this paper’s upcoming, six-part series on what’s happened in the province since the moratorium.

Fisheries Minister Darin King, a former member of Williams’ cabinet, said Cleary’s remarks are off base.

In an email, he said the province continues to make strategic investments in support of the sustainability and competitiveness of the fishing industry, particularly in science, innovation, and trade and market development.

The minister noted this year’s budget includes investments totalling more than $30 million in support of fishing and aquaculture.

“Furthermore,” King stated, “our government invests more into the fishery annually than all Atlantic provinces combined. With all due respect to Mr. Cleary, this is a clear sign of our government’s leadership.”

Meanwhile, Cleary will mark the 20th anniversary of the moratorium in the place where he heard the news firsthand: Salon B at the Delta St. John’s.

He has rented the room, where former federal fisheries minister John Crosbie closed the northern cod fishery, for a July 2 event.

“Empty Nets we’re calling it,” Cleary said of next Monday afternoon’s event.

Cleary, who will speak around

1 p.m., hopes to send a message that the province and its people must take ownership of the fishery.

“We need a game plan for the future, a game plan that will in the end make sure we have control of the fish stocks, that we have a recovery plan, that we have a new economic model for rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

He booked the same room last year when announcing a private members bill for an inquiry into the fishery.


March to Harbourside Park

Following the event at the hotel, there’ll be a march to Harbourside Park.

Those who take part will get something to wear on their lapels.

“It’s a small piece of net, and in the background, are three ribbons — pink, white and green,” Cleary said.

The net is symbolic of an empty net, while the ribbons represent “the new attitude in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Cleary believes that confidence can be harnessed to cure some of the problems with the fishery.

“There’s something wonderful and special about Newfoundland and Labrador, but if we lose the fishery, if we lose the basis of our culture and our heritage, I think we’ll be lost.”

The Telegram’s six-part series on the moratorium starts Thursday.

Twitter: @SteveBartlett_


Organizations: The Telegram

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

    June 28, 2012 - 22:53

    I have a colour poster called one in a million, It is a poster i picked up at the Dept of fisheries in St. Johns about 35 years ago, this paper shows how one cod egg in a million survives to become an adult cod fish, I think the mortality rate of a cod egg has dropped from in a million to one in a billion or less, The question is how to increase the mortality rate of the cod fish, I think that fish breeding or hatching stations should be built to hatch fish eggs and keep the small fish in fish pounds until the they are large, then release them into small protected coves around the island so they may breed and help rebuild the fish stock. then reduce the seal population that are in the many millions of Hungry pretiors destroying the cod stock

  • Ray Johnson
    June 25, 2012 - 21:08

    Viewing the comments coming in from other parts of Canada re: Ryan Cleary's get together at the Delta here in NL, may indeed be fruitful, however, I have lost confidence in the political system, especially knowing all MP's had 20 years to turn things around concerning the problem within the fishery. I believe it's imperative that we look outside the box and see ourselves as we are. We are Nflders and Labradorians who have turned our backs on the resource that brought your forefathers and their wives to these incredible shores that are now the envy of the world. Seeing the small boats on the water is a sure indication of our hope that the inshore fishery and our rights is possible if we all stand together. Oil is one thing, but how long will it last? Buiding houses and expanding the urban centres is another indication that there will be very little land left to grow food produce. Right now we import about 95 percent of our food. Shameful. I could go on. Let's wait and see what happens on July 2nd, 2012.

  • willy
    June 25, 2012 - 12:42

    The fishery is DEAD !!! Why don't people just accept that hard fact and move on.

  • Jason
    June 25, 2012 - 11:42

    30 Million invested into the fishery, seems like a drop in the bucket compared to what's being invested in the city of St.John's. 40 Million for this, 48 million for that!! Seems the old ways are continuing, unless you live inside the overpass, your doomed!! With a province of roughly 535,000 people, We have way too many Natural resources both on Land & Sea for any of these goons to make excuses.. There should be no arguments, the Province of NL should be on easy street!!!

  • alfred
    June 25, 2012 - 10:51

    good point townie, heaven help if they form government federally, but it won't happen. unlike here in manitoba where the socialist NDP have us over a billion dollars in debt, user fees sky rocketing, taxes up, 2.5% gas tax, etc etc. THE NDP wouldn't run a circus because they are a circus. as for mp cleary, he is just a mouth piece for is QUEBEC leader.

  • Frank M
    June 25, 2012 - 10:26

    Our Fishery is in need of an overhaul, but neither Mr. Cleary, the various levels of government, the Industry or the fisherman's Union seems willing to sit down and have a serious discussion. The current model simply does not work. Changes to EI imposed by the Federal government just might be the spark to examine what the Fishery of the future will look like. Unless it just becomes another round of fight, fight and fight again, which serves no real purpose.

  • crista
    June 25, 2012 - 09:42

    you say cleary do not know what is talking ,that is your right? i am going to tell you I know what i am talking about!!! ? you can think about this,the fisherman the problem merchants then the government then the unions, than the DIRT?then they see the money that could could be made of the fishery then the buddy system with the merchants unions,government then they took from the fisherman and shared with there free trade, then then fisherman brought into government bussiness unions, then the pay out of the liences what a mess then through in the experts the scientist than the liences wre given out through the government,then secrets and bussiness in the bubby buddy system???? and yes i would like to attend this room talk meeting and tell them the role the media played in to this and this is just the bare basics to what i am talking about ????

    June 25, 2012 - 09:04

    go away cleary, you and your QUEBEC dictator haven got a clue about the fishery. WASN'T THIS THE GUY WHO SLAMMED OUR SEAL HUNT ? i think so ! take your mouth piece and run away on your 3 month free payed vacation @ our expence until parliment opens in september. taxpayers don't need their summer vacations ruined listening and seeing all the hot air coming out of the ears of this guy .

  • Maurice E. Adams
    June 25, 2012 - 08:52

    While Clearly may not have all the answers, throwing money at the fishery is no substitute for a real fisheries 'vision', nor for real leadership --- no more than throwing money at Nalcor for an uneconomic, unneeded and excessively high cost Muskrat Falls project is a substitute for an energy or economic development vision for the province..... I agree with Cleary that --- using the pink, white and green is a symbol of the 'new attitude' in Newfoundland and Labrador ----- see website .

  • Townie
    June 25, 2012 - 08:34

    and Ryan.....what is your solution to this problem? I see your mouth move but nothing substantial ever comes out. Heaven help us if the NDP ever form a government. Mouth piece at best!

  • Ben
    June 25, 2012 - 08:30

    Cleary tell us what the NDP policy is on the fishery? Provincially they do not have a clue about the fishery. We all have to realize that the fishery has changed from years more can there be a fish plant in every community. Also most of the young people do not want to get involved in the fishery. Our problem here in NL is that some refuse to let go of 'the good ole days', which by the way were not so good as we were living them (they actually look better now). It is time for people like Cleary to stop playing with people and give us some real strategies they have for the fishery. PS...i bet Dale Kirby will be at that photo op next week.

  • David
    June 25, 2012 - 07:44

    The handling of the fishery collapse is a case study in the the ultimate example of opportunistic, manipulative, gutless politics. KIcking the can down the road, beyond the next election, using taxpayer money as a pitiful bribe to quiet people --- an expensive soother in the mouths of children. This is supposedly what we pay those in government so very generously for...their courageous, decisive leadership. John Crosbie, former Minister of Fisheries whose famous "I didn't take the GD fish from the water!" , was made our Lt. Governor....seriously, you couldn't make this stuff up.

  • PT Barnum
    June 25, 2012 - 07:22

    Way to go Clearly - another opportunity for you to get your face in the paper and on the TV. You now officially have no position on anything, because you flap your mouth at everything. Great Stunt planned for July 2, 2012 it proves to have all the elements of a PT Barnum event: shameless hucksterism and peerless spectacle. I'll bring the "The Feejee Mermaid" and the "Bearded Lady."

    • Chantal
      June 25, 2012 - 08:46

      So anytime someone from the opposition says anything, it's simply an attention getting device? You could have made a rational argument, but instead you hide behind a stupid ad hominem attack. He's been elected and has a duty to represent his constituents -- that's the way a parliamentary democracy works... even if you don't like it.

  • roy
    June 25, 2012 - 06:55

    This fellow cleary has no idea about the fishery, just another mouth piece in ottawa. The days of having a fishplant in every community are gone, its now a case of world competition. Maybe his idea idea is to return to the fish merchat days then this might work. I guess if he keeps up his ranting he might be heard and get elected, Newfoundlanders like that, the ranting and roaring

  • Casey
    June 25, 2012 - 06:48

    If we had a few more like Cleary, Ottawa just might get the message and start protecting the fish stocks for NLers, not EU fishermen. There will be no inquiry, unfortunately, because Ottawa has to much to hide!