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My Quest for Cod – Just 5 Fish…

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As Eddie Coffey would say, yesterday was a “Grey Foggy Day”. I woke up to a dense fog, thick clouded sky and not a draft a wind. Although, I could hear the little motorboats gradually leave the wharf in my tiny little fishing village of Green Island Cove. As the afternoon approached, it was clear that today was the day to participate in the recreational cod or what in Newfoundland and Labrador is commonly referred to as the food fishery.

A few weeks each summer the Feds designate a time when Newfoundlander’s and Labradorians can take to the water and catch just five fish per person, per day with a maximum of 15 per boat if there are three or more people in each boat. The concept of the food fishery and the heavy regulations are a constant frustration of rural Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

My father was a commercial fisher. In fact, everyone ancestor down my family line on my father’s side was a fisher, stemming all the way back to Southern England. My father and I would go out fishing post-moratorium (post-1992) for a few weeks each summer to fish a nominal quota allocated to commercial fishers capped at a few thousand pounds per week until the overall quota was caught. Since his passing, my only option to catch my five cod like everyone else, as I’m the only person in my family line that never had the option of becoming a fisherman.

As a politician, I constantly speak with fishers and hear their frustrations with the lack of communication in Ottawa regarding our fishery. I hear how abundant the cod is and how much larger they are and this was solidified yesterday when I took to the water to catch my own five fish.

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There is a sense of belonging each time I’m on the water. It is certainly in my blood to continue to practice our traditional ways of culture, heritage and way of rural living. One of the reasons I left Edmonton to return to Newfoundland was to be close to the water.

We did not go far to catch our cod, just off Green Island – it is the small piece of land in which our community is named. After a little while tugging on the line, we hooked some – in fact, I got a double!

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There were many little fishing boats all around us, including the blowing sound of a whale. The fish were full of herring and caplin. The fish and whale were feasting! It did not take too long to catch our 10 fish, we got 5 a piece and they were some size! I remember jigging with Dad some 17 years ago, but the cod were not as large as these – only a scattered one would the size depicted below.

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Cod fish are larger, more abundant and it appears no one is listening. How can it be that so few nets are being used and commercial cod quotas are being filled in days? It’s beyond time to focus on how Newfoundland and Labrador deals with a return of the cod. Iceland has been quite success with their cod fishery and it continues to evolve.

Up on the wharf we showed our catch, gutted the cod, kept the britches and looked forward to a meal. Until we get change at the Federal level, Newfoundlander’s and Labradorian’s will be forced to take a paltry five fish a day.

Something has to change, because 5 fish does not cut it for a resource that sustained us for more than 500 years.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

BREAKING: Caplin Rolling in Green Island Cove, NL Today! #caplinroll2015

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It’s not every day the caplin come to shore in my home town of Green Island Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula. It created a lot of buzz, with residents as far as Anchor Point, some 25 KM to the south making the drive to get a feed of fresh caplin. It was awesome to see my Aunt and Uncle there, who are visiting from Edmonton, Alberta. They were saying the last time they saw the caplin rolling, their kids were home and just as excited as those on the beach today!

As I watched my younger cousin rushing to fill his bucket. I remember being a young boy with my father on the beach as the caplin rolled about two decades ago. I worked hard with the dip net to fill a couple of five gallon buckets, rushing just like the boys on the beach today. My great great aunt Lavinia was on the beach too, in her mid-seventies at the time, dad said to me lets help Aunt Lavinia fill her bucket. She always remembered that day and so have I, we talked about it often when I visited. She had a sharp memory, right to her final days – she lived to be 98.

The caplin rolling are good signs! We continue to hear reports of an abundance of cod! #caplinroll2015!

It’s exciting times to be living on the Great Northern Peninsula. Now for a feed of caplin 🙂

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Serenity by the Sea

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My hometown of Green Island Cove is a quaint little fishing community. Last Sunday, I took some time to enjoy the beautiful weather and get some exercise. The surroundings and views were as inviting and serene as always – this place after all is my home.

As a child I would spend many hours in the “landwash”, the beach or down by the boats. We would skip rocks on the water, look for small crabs, jellyfish or pick some mussels. Some days we would build a sandcastle or just sit and stare off at Green Island, the Big Land of Labrador and watch the activity on the water, while hearing the waves gently crash.

As we get older and our lives get busier, sometimes we just don’t take enough time to stop and take a look around at our surroundings and realize how beautiful things really are when we take the time…

Seeing so many wild mussels growing between the rocks, brought back wonderful memories of picking them with short rubber boots. We did that quite often. The sunshine and the remaining pans of ice and bergy bits just added to the seaside walk. Take time to enjoy the sights and surroundings in your own community. You may be pleasantly surprised by what it has to offer.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Golden Sunsets – Green Island Cove, NL

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The golden sun is setting over the Strait of Belle Isle and will disappear beyond the hills of the Big Land – Labrador. This was a magnificent view I experience from my backyard. A truly joy of rural living when you are at water’s edge.

This has been a summer where we’ve experienced the freshest seafood, either at one of our fine local restaurants or at home. Lobsters have been boiling in the shed and eaten outside. Food definitely tastes better when it’s prepared and eaten outside for some reason.

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The wonderful surroundings, the fresh air, green space, blue skies, sunshine and tranquility certainly provide the perfect atmosphere. The backyard fire pit and entertaining area is still a work in progress, but even the flames of a store purchased pit can provide just what you need for gatherings of friends and family to share song, stories and enjoy the warmth of the fire when the sun goes down.

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It’s always important in our busy lives that we stop to smell the roses and realize the value of rural living.

The Great Northern Peninsula offers backyards that have golden sunsets and everything you need to enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.

Live Rural NL –
 
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Kitchen Party tonight at Green Island Cove Wharf

Tonight there will be a unique experience at my hometown community, which has a population of 187 residents. Let’s hope the wharf will be fill with spectators as our very own multi-talented Loomis Way and a band of musicians perform traditional music, hosting what is likely the first Kitchen Party at the Green Island Cove wharf.

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Join us tonight to celebrate the Spirit of Newfoundland & Labrador Inshore Fishery & Fishing Communities. Details are below:

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The inshore plays a vital role in our rural communities. It has been our reason for existence. There is no secret the return of the mighty cod is nearing. Now is the time for policymakers to  involve the inshore fishers in this process so we are ready to deal with cod quota increases, when they occur.

Rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorians believe in their community and sustainably harvest the resources that are available to them. We have exceptional cultural assets as well that stem from the activities in which we live in our daily lives. Tonight’s Kitchen Party will be a prime example as we celebrate our small fishing communities through song and dance in the surroundings of friends.

Come out tonight if you can, for a truly authentic rural experience on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
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