Following is the text of a letter sent by Gus Etchegary to N&L media.

Dear Editor:

The Federal  Minister of Fisheries, Mrs. Shea has mandated the FRCC to conduct an Examination of the Conditions and  Considerations for a Sustainable Atlantic Canadian Groun Fisheries (Emphasis on Cod).There are nineteen members on the FRCC. They will hold  meetings in  25 locations in the  five Atlantic Provinces  between April 6th and May 4th 2010. The Federal Minister has requested the FRCC develop a long term  strategic approach to the sustainability of the Atlantic Groundfish fisheries and the conservation of the resource.

There are several questions one is prompted to ask the Minister in light of the extremely high cost of producing the information requested on our groundfisheries (Emphasis on Cod) in this latest mandate to the FRCC.

 Firstly, it is disturbing to note  that in 2004 the FRCC under the direction of experienced leadership  and a group of high caliber personnel conducted a similar request  from the DFO Minister with the emphasis on Cod  and made a detailed  report containing recommendations for its recovery and 
conservation. That 20 page document is available for all to read 
and to note that practically every one of those well-researched 
recommendations by the FRCC were ignored by DFO. Included in those 
recommendations was specific reference to the over population of 
seals and an estimate of the high mortality of cod due to its food 
requirement. It was remarkable but also disturbing to hear one of 
the FRCC members commenting on a radio broadcast this morning that 
"the over population of seals is a factor that must be dealt with"
in regard to the rebuilding of the cod resource. This great
pronouncement after eighteen years since the moratorium was 
declared against Canadian fishermen is a bit difficult to 
take!!!!.  Especially so when 20 NAFO foreign nations continue to 
fish with impunity outside the 200 mile limit.

To further illustrate the lack of coordination, dedication and leadership within DFO toward rebuilding of the groundfisheries one should be reminded of the much heralded "Cod Action Teams" that was established in conjunction with the Eastern Provinces in August, 2003.  Three "Action" teams were established  led by the Directors General of the Regions in the Maritimes, 
Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. The Government of Canada and 
the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador formed the 
Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Action Team for Cod Rebuilding,
led at the federal level by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans 
(DFO) and provincially by the Newfoundland and Labrador Department 
of Fisheries and Aquaculture (DFA). This Action Team was mandated 
to develop a stock rebuilding and long-term management strategy for 
the four major cod stocks adjacent to the province of Newfoundland 
and Labrador.

 On November 14, 2005, the Cod Rebuilding Strategy Report 
was presented to the Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture
Ministers (ACFAM) for their review. The ACFAM approved the release 
of the Report, noting that it represents an important step toward
the rebuilding of Atlantic cod stocks, but that considerable work 
has yet to be done, including analysis of some of the 
recommendations and development of an implementation plan. What    has 
been accomplished as result of these two investigations? Should the Minister now halt this present FRCC expensive process and thoroughly review the recommendations that have already been submitted?

As a result of an eighteen year moratorium, isn't it about time for 
the Government of Canada assumed its responsibility to rebuild the 
huge resource we delivered to Canada in 1949  which they have 
mismanaged in an such astonishing manner? Having lost 80,000 of its fishing population and about 25,000 direct and service jobs in this Provinces fishing industry as a  result of documented Federal mismanagement isn't it about time the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans implemented measures to
rebuild our fisheries?

Canada must take whatever steps are necessary to stop the foreign 
overfishing now taking place outside two hundred miles that
continues through direct fishing or by-catches of cod, turbot, 
flounder and other groundfisheries. Implement Custodial Management
which was committed to by the Prime Minister and former DFO
Minister Hearn in pre-election speeches. Bring a halt to the 
infrastructure deterioration taking place, in recent years, in the 
DFO Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre at the White Hills and 
begin that process with the re-establishment of a credible
fisheries science capacity since it is the most important element 
of a groundfish rebuilding strategy.

Gus Etchegary
 Fisheries Community Alliance.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 23 April 2010 22:00 )