Welcome to Sustainable Fisheries

EU NAFO observer scheme a fiasco

The Harper govt made much ado in 2009 about revisions to the NAFO Convention that it claimed would improve conservation and enforcement. Four former DFO executives (including myself) fought these amemdments "tooth and nail" because we knew that NFO would remain a toothless tiger. We succeeded in getting the House of Commons to pass a majority resolution calling on the Harper govt to reject these amendments. Thumbing its nose at Parliament, in a now only too familiar gesture, the Harper govt responded by announcing that Canada would ratify the amended Convention.

What has been happening since then? A few days ago the UK Guardian newspaper reported the results of an investigation into the EU observer scheme in the NAFO Area. It reported that observers monitoring European fish quotas are being regularly intimidated, offered bribes and undermined by the fishing crews they are observing. More than 20 former and current observers on Portuguese and Spanish ships said that they had experienced tactics such as beingput under surveillance, deprived of sleep, or threatened with being thrown overboard, or having their official documentation stolen by fishing crews to conceal a culture of overfishing. More here http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/18/fishing-inspectors-intimidated-bribed-crews?intcmp=122

TAGS: sustainable, fisheries, overfishing, EU fisheries observers, Spanish fleet, observers intimidated

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Harper govt moves to gut Atlantic fishery

Recently Brian Lee Crowley, who fancies himself as Canada's Milton Friedman, had an article in the Hill Times calling for more privatization of the Atlantic fishery. Long a big fan of ITQs, the Holy Grail of right-wing fisheries economists, Crowley is one of the ideologues who believes that big business should have unfettered control of the fishery and the "invisible hand" of the free market would sort out all problems. Never mind that hundreds of coastal communities are dying as a consequence. Crowley's musings prompted a response from businessman Herb Breau, who was briefly a Liberal Minister of Fisheries in the 1980s. Breau argued that with respect to the fishery "Crowley had gotten almost every point wrong."
Breau pointed out that the Atlantic offshore fishery for cod and similar species, known as groundfish, was already adopting ITQs before he served as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in 1984, and continued after that. He notes that the causes of the cod collapse have still to be fully understood. There is no simple answer. "One thing we know is that ITQs did not prevent it. Advocating them as a blanket solution therefore defies experience," Breau argues. He concludes that, where ITQs are envisaged as a means  one must consider both the benefits (they can indeed reduce expenditures) and the dangers ( they are often accused of fostering poaching and depopulating communities.
 
 
Today columnist Ralph Surette, writing in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, sounds the alarm: "The Harper government has signalled its intent to assault the structure of the independent East Coast fishery, with the apparent aim of opening it up to more corporate control. Given what’s at stake for Atlantic Canada, it had better be all hands on deck for this fight, as the billion-dollar lobster, crab and shrimp sectors and the coastal economies they support risk being thrown into anarchy." He criticizes the current moves by the Harper government to abandon long-established policies that restrict corporate concentration in the Atlantic fishery. His article is pungently titled: " Smell of Rotting Fish Coming from Ottawa." Shades of Shakespeare! Read it here http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/86531-smell-of-rotting-fish-coming-from-ottawa#.T4mnDU5Pe0M.twitter
 
TAGS: sustainable, fisheries, Atlantic fishery, ITQs, corporate concentration, Atlantic fishery policy, Brian Lee Crowley, Herb Breau, Hill Times, Ralph Surette

 

ITQ Advocates Out to Lunch re Changes to Fisheries Policy

Earlier this week John Ivison writing in the National Post waded into the debate over the Tory plans to "modernize: Canada's fisheries policy. This is widely regarded by Atlantic fishermen as code for "selling out coastal communities and fishermen to corporate interests." Spokesmen for the corporate sector on the other hand see this as their one great chance to overturn policies they have fought for decades. John Ivison has unwiitingly been duped by economists who believe that ITQs are the answer to all fisheries ills. A fisheries colleague of mine has provided a crisp rejoiner to Ivison's meanderings in a letter which I heartedly endorse.


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New cod study suggests need for a grey seal cull/Revised

A new study has found that grey seals do eat a lot of cod, and are largely responsible for the fish’s decline. The finding, published in the journal Fisheries Research, is generating controversy over the need for a large cull of grey seals for the benefit of cod. Robert O’Boyle and Michael Sinclair, former DFO scientists, conclude that “increases in natural mortality of cod on the Eastern Scotian Shelf since the late 1980s have been due in large part to the exponential growth of the grey seal population.” It appears that a huge grey seal population is preventing cod stocks from rebounding off Nova Scotia. The Sable Island seal population has spiked since the 1970s, climbing from about 3,000 to 300,000, a doubling of the population every seven years. "We conclude that indeed the seals are responsible for the lack of recovery of the cod," Sinclair told CBC News. More here http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2012/01/16/ns-seal-cod-research.html

A friend drew to my attention an article in La Presse quoting Boris Worms as follows: Boris Worm, biologiste marin de l'Université Dalhousie, est sceptique devant les conclusions de M. O'Boyle: «À mon avis, ce sont deux anciens hauts fonctionnaires qui publient des conclusions conformes à leurs convictions. " Obviously Worms, whose ego is as big as Mount Everest, does not know Sinclair or O'Boyle very well to suggest that these retired scientists are spouting the DFO party line in their retirement.

 TAGS: sustainable, fisheries, grey seals, cod, cull, Mike Sinclair

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Major Alaska Salmon Producers Wihdraw from MSC Program

Major Alaska salmon producers have decided not to continue with the Marine Stewardship Council certification program for Alaska salmon. It appears that the primary issue between the Alaska processors and the Marine Stewardship council has been the cost to processors to remain in the certification program. MSC has been rapidly changing its funding sources to rely on program and licensing fees, rather than contributions from charitable foundations. In the most recent annual reports, total program funding has risen to more than 50% of the overall budget. This is  pressuring those who must now pay these fees to reconsider their participation in the MSC certification program. While particpation in the MSC program has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years the withdrawal of the Alaska salmon producers will no doubt dampen the enthusiasm of others. More here http://www.thecordovatimes.com//article/1203marine_stewardship_council_losing_ground_with

TAGS: sustainable, fisheries, MSC, ecocertification, Alaska salmon

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