Letters to the editor -
Judging by past polls, the Williams government doesn't need a cheerleader. That said, there is one noteworthy recent release that deserves further mention.
The announcement that the province is getting into fishery research is a very important development for our fishing industry and marks the beginning of a long overdue move by the province to take an expanded role in management of our fisheries.
The federal government, through the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, is responsible for management of the oceans and fish resources off our coast, including scientific research. However, since introduction of the cod moratorium in 1992, they have slashed budgets for research in the Newfoundland and Labrador region to the point where they have been unable to conduct some committed research in the past two years due to lack of resources and equipment.
Without the information from those research surveys and studies, it is impossible to make accurate or even reasonable stock assessments, for purposes of quota-setting.
Will this move fix all of the ills plaguing the industry in this province? It will not.
In fact, it will do nothing to help the immediate crisis. The fisheries renewal memorandum of understanding is supposed to do that. What this move will do is address one of the outstanding long-term issues and until we do more of that, we will simply continue to stumble from one crisis to another as we have been doing.
In addition to addressing the research issue, the province also needs to address marketing, federal provincial co-operation, and a whole host of other problems that will have to be solved before long-term stability can be realized in this key industry for rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
In the meantime, this is an important first step, and the Williams government is to be congratulated for taking it.