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Letter: Scallop fishers left high and dry

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Scallops. — SaltWire Network file photo

I’m sitting here thinking about how our elected government is forcing our 3PS scallop fleet to destroy the only bit of fishing ground (north bed) that they gave our fleet to fish in 2006 by building invisible fences around the rest of the grounds which are known as the southern and middle beds.

We always had the right to fish there, but inside those fences now only the offshore fleet from Nova Scotia is allowed to fish. How criminal this is for is Newfoundland fishermen to be banned from fishing our own waters where we can fish for any other species.

Earlier this year, the government gave away some of Clearwater’s quota to an Indigenous group, and I think it was terrible, but really, it is quite similar to what the government took from us Newfoundlanders and gave to Clearwater — our fishing grounds. How can this be right? They couldn’t help us because they represent the plant workers of Clearwater, so we were hung to dry.
Another question is, why didn’t we get compensated for the loss of our fishing grounds like the scallop fishermen who were compensated by Nalcor?

All the scallop fleet is tied up because it’s not viable to fish in the north bed. We are all waiting for the Icelandic core zone to open up because there are a few more scallops where some boats will get a trip — but not all, because they only issue six permits every 10 days. That means some may not even get a stab at that.

It’s terrible to think that our own government is stopping us from fishing our own grounds when we, as fishermen, know there is resource enough here for all the scallop boats to be successful in Newfoundland. But instead, there are two offshore draggers from Nova Scotia fishing our prosperous grounds by themselves, while we are tied on with nowhere to go.

Paul Snook
Fortune

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