NDP Fisheries and Aquaculture critic Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) says the provincial government should start talking with their federal counterparts to establish a comprehensive plan to improve management of marine stocks, fishing rights and our rural fishing communities’ sustainability.
“The European Union is moving toward a greener economy, as it currently negotiates reforming its Common Fisheries Policy,” says Mitchelmore. “This innovative move will seek to re-build fish stocks, and establish targets to end overfishing and reduce by-catch, wasteful discarding of fish at sea, and the role of middlemen.”
A North Sea trial looked at the ongoing concerns regarding the practice of high-grading – discarding a large percentage of fish caught at sea, so that only those with the highest value will be landed and sold. This happens because of pricing policies and quotas – larger fish are worth more money per pound, but every pound of fish caught counts toward total quotas. In the trial, less valuable fish caught by harvesters were brought to shore, but not credited fully towards a harvester’s full quota, allowing for more fish being landed, but fewer fish in total being caught – potentially resulting in more sustainable fishing practices, with greater industry benefits.
“This was just a pilot project, and full results are not in, but it demonstrates a willingness to explore innovative approaches to the fishery,” said Mitchelmore. “We have been doing all the same things for decades. It is time for our governments to try some different approaches. The provincial government should be encouraging DFO to try this kind of pilot project.”
“The Province must press DFO for policy changes that will benefit fishers, plant workers, processors and all involved in the industry as the fishery is a public resource held by the Crown to benefit the people,” said Mitchelmore.
Seals are a valuable natural resource, and the seal harvest is an economic mainstay for numerous rural communities in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the North. As a time-honoured tradition, Canada’s seal harvest supports many coastal families who can derive as much as 35% of their annual income from this practice. (Department of Fisheries & Oceans, http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/seal-phoque/index-eng.htm).
My father was a sealer, his father before him, his father’s father on down the family line since the early 1800’s. Like many rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorian’s the commercial seal hunt added to the viability of rural living, providing an additional source of income as the meat and pelts were sold to merchants to be shipped to the European marketplace.
The seal was a way of life for us. The meat was eaten, sometimes preserved. The flipper is still considered a seasonal delicacy today. Seal fat was rendered for oil to provide light for lamps. It’s interesting how the seal hunt correlated with the Industrial Revolution in Europe to provide much-needed oils, yet today the product is being banned. The seal skin was also used for clothing. I still have my seal skin boots from 14 Christmas’ ago. It was the last pair my father bark-tanned before his passing. I continue to wear them proudly.
We have a history that must be shared as we made and continue to make our “Home from the Sea”. This past winter I attended the Seal of Approval Dinner, where 5 of Newfoundland and Labrador‘s Top Chefs served up a menu of seal dishes, including seal oil ice-cream. Look out Ben & Jerry’s, as my mouth still waters at the thought of getting another scoop. The Home from the Sea Campaign is raising money to build a Sealer’s Memorial and Interpretation Centre in Elliston, NL (root cellar capital of the world). If you would like to read more or donate visit: http://www.homefromthesea.ca/
I believe seal meat should be available as a specialty item at our grocery stores and served at local restaurants, especially in tourist season. Whenever I travel to other countries I try localize food as much as possible. Last month in Iceland I tried Puffin with blueberry sauce. Moose burgers, stews, soups and poutine is a big hit, why not seal?
I’ve purchased a seal skin tie, multiple pairs of slippers, gloves, purse and a belt at GNP Craft Producers, visit www.gnpcraft.com to view their on-line store. As well, own a bark tanned wallet designed by Sabrina Lisa and bark tanned business card holder given as a gift too. While on Fogo Island at the Wind & Waves Artisan’s Guild, Joe Batt’s Arm, I bought a sealskin compact and seal skin cufflinks. The product possibilities are near endless.
On October 20th, 2o12 I visited NaturaL Boutique, which is operated by two locals from Rocky Harbour on the Great Northern Peninsula. They have a variety of what I would consider to be more modern seal apparel. You can visit their store at 152 Water Street, St. John’s, NL. They also have a booth set-up at the Avalon Mall in preparation for the Christmas Season. Their website is www.naturalboutique.ca.
I purchased a seal skin jacket from NaturaL Boutique, shown below with co-owner, Kerry Shears.
I will wear it proudly as I continue to support the Canadian Seal Hunt, the sealers who risks their lives each year as they take to the ice as well as the local artisans and crafters. We have a history and a future of sealing in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Let’s continue to show our support for the industry.Live Rural NL – Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
The New York Stock Exchange is located on 11 Wallk Street – which trades in the multi-billion dollar range daily and has trillions of dollars of stock in its holdings.
Wall Street and the NYSE has experienced significant highs and lows since its formation. In my lifetime, I can only remember the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 and most recent mortgage crisis which saw stocks free fall in 2008 and send many countries into Recession. The turmoil has been felt around the world as the European Union struggles to deal with debt-ridden countries, USA tries to reform tax structures and rebuild the economy and Canada feels the pains for slower than forecasted economic growth.
Does this have an impact on you? The Occupy Movement is an International Protest directed against economic and social inequality. Their recognizable political slogan “We are the 99%“. There is a growing divide between the rich and the poor as the top 1% are controlling more and more of the world’s wealth and contributing less in taxes.
There must be lessons learned to limit poor banking regulations from having such an impact on everyday people from employment, to retirement savings, to impacting interest rates and lending.
We want a bullish market – job growth and stronger economies. A walk on Wall Street and around the financial sector of New York City is a reminder how quickly prosperity for those that are not in the top 1% can be taken away. Rural Newfoundland & Labrador knows all too well when an industry they depend on is in free fall – the impact lack of appropriate action and strategic planning has on future growth.
Let us place a focus on maintaining Main Street – on the everyday people who work hard to sustain their communities. A weaker Wall Street should not send the world into free fall.
Live Rural NL –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
P.S. While my brother-in-law and I walked Wall Street, my sister and mother spent lots of time exploring the retail sector.