In her letter to the editor Monday, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea, wants us to accept that she “understands” and is a “strong supporter of an independent inshore fleet.”
Unfortunately, she goes on to say she wishes to “carry out the legacy of my good friend Loyloa Hearn.” I say unfortunate because Loyola Hearn’s position was made quite clear to me at a meeting at the Delta Hotel between DFO officials and the Fisheries Community Alliance. In response to my question about the possibility of a shrimp quota for Harbour Breton, which was experiencing a huge loss of fish processing jobs at the time, he replied, “we are not in the business of propping up failing communities.”
I hope Shea does not hold this attitude and does not intend to follow in those footsteps.
In focusing on the LIFO (last in, first out) policy, in my opinion, Shea misses the main point at issue here.
She needs to lift her sights to the outcome she is seeking to achieve which, in my view, has more to do with how are we distributing the benefits derived from this common property resource.
By allocating the lion’s share of our shrimp resource to the offshore factory freezer trawlers, are we getting the most benefit from it or are we concentrating benefits in the hands of a few rich corporate entities while our coastal communities are left “struggling with significant challenges,” as the minister recognizes.
In closing her letter, Shea states, “I will continue to have an open dialogue with fishermen and all stakeholders.”
Consistent with this, I suggest her clarification of shrimp quota allocations would be more convincing if she were to give us a complete overview of how the total allowable catch of shrimp is allocated; who owns the various enterprise quotas; what proportion of these enterprises is foreign owned; what
proportion is owned by enterprises in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, other provinces and territories of Canada; and how much of the quota is left for adjacent communities.
Perhaps then we will agree that she is “a strong supporter of an independent inshore fleet.” Or not?
Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s