The NAFO Scientific Council, composed of member nations scientists, presented a report to NAFO in Halifax in June 2008.
This Report confirmed the ineffectiveness of NAFO and since Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province affected by its fisheries mismanagement, it's high time we wake up to the fact our basic renewable industry is on the road to extinction.
Nothing DFO Minister Hearn nor his Ambassador Sullivan can say will cover up and shield from the public the cold, hard facts presented by the scientists NAFO nations have continued, with impunity, to break every NAFO fisheries regulation on the Grand Banks during the last four years. Documented data presented by the scientists showed the much heralded 'rebuilding' program for turbot, the only migrating groundfish species left for Canadians to fish, was directly overfished by NAFO countries by 27 per cent in 2004, 22 per cent in 2005, 27 per cent in 2006 and a whopping 42 per cent in 2007.
Furthermore, in addition to blatant direct overfishing foreign nations exceeded by-catch allowances to such an extent the NAFO Scientific Council presented NAFO nations with the dire warning: 'Council has noted in the past that there are several stocks, currently under moratorium, for which by-catch is preventing or severely limiting biomass growth. These stocks such as 3NO Cod, 3L/NO American Plaice and 3M Cod are at low levels, despite a ban on directed fishing for about 12 years. By-catches also continue on other stocks that have a very low biomass.'
The report goes on to state in spite of the deplorable direct overfishing and excessive by-catch rates, 'No other new rebuilding plans were adopted in 2008.'
A great hullabaloo was created by Hearn, Sullivan and Harper, three years ago, when they reneged on the election promise of implementing Custodial Management and turned to NAFO, believe it or not, for help!
They spent millions of taxpayers' dollars trying to convince us 'reformed NAFO nations', behaving responsibly on the Grand Banks would cooperate with Canada in rebuilding our hugely diversified and renewable groundfish resource, capable of providing thousands of permanent jobs for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
Anyone who experienced the presence of heavily subsidized foreign companies on our fishing grounds over the last 60 years, knew Hearn was making a gross error when he turned his back on Newfoundland and Labrador and turned to NAFO.
We know from hard experience International Fishery Commissions, such as ICNAF and NAFO, are controlled by foreign governments and function for their benefit and not the Coastal State - Canada.
Foreign nations will continue to fish irresponsibly if that's what it takes to protect and conserve their home fisheries and maintain the viability of their rural and fishing communities. That's been our experience since 1950. Nobody can deny this fact.
We have been 'led down the garden path' long enough. It's time for our provincial government to take the same position on our fisheries as they did on the oil and gas industry.
Unless they take a strong stand with Ottawa on Custodial Management of our fisheries, we can write off the future for rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
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The NAFO Scientific Council, composed of member nations scientists, presented a report to NAFO in Halifax in June 2008. This Report confirmed the ineffectiveness of NAFO.