Sunday, November 20, 2011

DFO Minister quote

In this St John's newspaper article, DFO Minister keith Ashfield is quoted as saying the 'fishery is probably broken'. He is referring to the east coast fishery but the basic approach seems to be the same on our west coast.
And if he thinks making 20-30 thousand dollars is unacceptable to young people how about west coast fishers, especially gillnetters, who make 1/4 of that...??  We wonder what Minister Ashfield thinks is acceptable to the Canadian public when commercial fishermen contribute so little to the economy yet inflict such onerous impacts on fish stocks in addition to bycatch impacts on much more valuable fish such as steelhead.
The budget cuts Ashfield hinted at wont make DFO more efficient in our opinion. Only a major restructuring or even a completely new organisation will change the negative feelings towards this dysfunctional bureaucracy.

The Weekend Telegram, St John's, NFLD
It’s not just Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishery that needs fixing, according to federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield.

Speaking to The Telegram Friday afternoon, Ashfield conceded the fishing industry is “probably broken” and major steps need to be taken if a younger generation of harvesters is going to get into the business.

“It’s not only in Newfoundland and Labrador, the fishery in general could be considered broken, to some degree,” Ashfield said.

“We’re worried about that and we’re not going to have new people come into the fishery unless they can make a living at it. People aren’t happy to make $20,000-$30,000, especially the younger people.”

But while Ashfield acknowledged the government may need to do more to restructure the fishery, he gave no indication that Ottawa is prepared to put up money to do so.

Instead, he said, the answer lies in making the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as efficient as possible.

“There’s things that we can do, when we look at the layers of rules and regulations and all of the red tape that are tied to the fisheries department that have just grown year after year after year,” Ashfield said. “It doesn’t make for a good business model, and it makes it very difficult for people to earn a sustainable living.”

Liberal MP Gerry Byrne questioned what exactly that would mean.

“What red tape is he talking about? Is he talking about less enforcement officers? Is he talking about the red tape of those pesky scientists? Is he talking about the red tape of consultation on fisheries management plans? Or is he talking about the red tape of the fleet-separation policy and not allowing processors to also be the harvesters of fish?” Byrne said.

Ashfield’s notion of making DFO “more efficient” left a bad taste in NDP MP Ryan Cleary’s mouth, too.

“That’s the code word for cuts,” he said.

Cleary has been sounding the alarm about impending cuts to DFO’s science program, as the federal Conservative government tries to bring the budget deficit back into balance.

“The guts have been cut out of science going back not just with this Conservative government, going right back to 1995 under the Paul Martin regime,” Cleary said. “I don’t see any move by the federal Conservative government to put more emphasis back on science.”

But in his interview with The Telegram, Ashfield said science is part of the department’s core mandate, and it remains a priority.

“Absolutely. Science is very much important, now more so than ever,” Ashfield said. “The science around fisheries is pretty interesting, to say the least.

“But if we don’t use a science-based approach, we won’t have a fishery.”

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