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LETTER: Blame for fisheries woes lies with the union

FFAW-Unifor members leave the Delta Hotel in downtown St. John's on their way to the Baine Johnston building, home of Newfoundland and Labrador member of parliament and federal cabinet minister Seamus O'Regan's office.
FFAW-Unifor members march in downtown St. John’s. — Telegram file photo

Lately there seems to be more news stories about problems in the fishery then there are rodents at the Robin Hood Bay landfill.

The province is blaming Canada, the provincial parties are blaming each other and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers-Unifor is blaming everyone but themselves for the mismanagement of our fisheries.

The root cause of the problems with our inshore fishery today is it is micromanaged to a level that a fish harvester cannot go to the washroom without permission. Wither it be for a new species, an abundant species or a species deemed to be in the critical zone, there are more layers of management in Newfoundland and Labrador then there are Unifor members in the public service of Canada.

There are more committees, licence conditions, fees, FFAW management and science projects in the inshore fishery than there are cod to catch.

The time is long overdue for all provincial and national political parties to ensure that control of our fisheries is removed from the bureaucrats at FFAW-Unifor.

Inshore fish harvesters are divided more by an ever-growing number of geographic boundaries, species, vessel classes and a multitude of other divisive criteria than at any time in this province’s 500-plus year history.

The cause of all this is FFAW-Unifor. They created divisions after the cod moratoria and they have been finding more ways to separate fish harvesters and communities practically every year since then.

The time is long overdue for all provincial and national political parties to ensure that control of our fisheries is removed from the bureaucrats at FFAW-Unifor.

Our provincial minister of fisheries, in a recent news article, blamed Ottawa for fisheries management failures. Immediately following that news item, the provincial fisheries critic with the Progressive Conservative party then blamed the provincial Liberals for the failures. To do this ,both the Liberals and the PCs are simply ignoring the reality.

If our provincial fisheries minister and our provincial fisheries critic want to learn the real cause of most of our inshore fishery problems, all they have to do is talk to inshore fish harvesters. It is a well-known fact that about 50 per cent of them believe FFAW-Unifor is contributing to or is the main cause of problems in the fishery.

With friends like FFAW-Unifor, this province’s inshore fish harvesters and rural Newfoundland Labrador surely does not need enemies.

I am a former FFAW staff person and a very concerned citizen of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Harvey Jarvis,
Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s

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