I was listening to a group of fishermen from Placentia and the 3PS area being interviewed by Jamie Baker of the Fisheries Broadcast on CBC Radio.
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They were upset about the fact that they had no buyers for cod in 2013 and were adamant they were not going to let it happen in 2014.
I give them credit for their actions, but in my opinion they are doomed for failure.
They started off by saying we are not pointing fingers at the government. Well, why not? The government would not allow you to bring in outside buyers at a time when no processor on the Island would buy cod.
They went on to say that they were thankful for what the provincial minister of fisheries had done.
I asked myself: What did the minister of fisheries do? Wasn’t he the one that stopped the fishermen from trying to sell their cod outside the province? And now they are thanking him?
I could never thank a person who was trying to stop me from putting food on the table to feed my family. It’s very difficult to survive today as an inshore fisherperson when you are depending on one species — crab — as the main income.
You have a provincewide union that you are forced to pay, by law, regardless if you want to or not, that represent the fishers as well as the plant workers and are not willing for unprocessed fish to be shipped out. Then you have a provincial government that will not allow unprocessed fish to leave the province unless you are a large company, like Ocean Choice International, but has signed a deal with the European Union to be able to come in and take our fish without being processed here.
So you can understand why I am so pessimistic about the inshore fishery surviving. I am all for processing in this province, as long as fisherpeople get a fair price and are able to sell their products.
I don’t know if outside buyers would be willing to come to this province and purchase cod and pay a fair price for it, but until you try, one will never know. It’s time for fisherpeople to stop thanking people that are keeping them down and demand some action or you will be like the great auk and we all know what happed to them.
The problem with Newfoundlanders is when someone kicks you in the gut, they always get up and thank them. This has to stop.
— Capt. Wilfred Bartlett (retired) writes from Green Bay South. He can be reached by email at the following: firstname.lastname@example.org