MATANE, QC, March 19, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Fisheries and Oceans Canada has put back on the table the idea of reintroducing groundfish trawling, counter to what minister Shea said in 2009. A new presentation from an officer of the Department was made to participants in the Groundfish Advisory Committee in Moncton on March 12 and 13 2012.
An important question then arises: with administrative decisions (cuts in services, Employment Insurance) that could be considered "aggressive" and that affect all workers in the fishing industry in the Gulf, could it be possible that the government wants to eliminate the remaining stocks of groundfish to allow the exploitation of listed oil sites? According to these actions, it is difficult to believe otherwise.
However, according to a discussion document on policy direction and principles of the Department, it appears that resource conservation is the first priority of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. It is written in this document "conservation means sustainable use that safeguards ecological processes and genetic diversity for present and future generations". The reintroduction of groundfish trawling is therefore totally at the opposite of the principles that were previously established by the Department.
Furthermore, several scientific reports show that trawlers, in addition to destroying the resource, annihilate everything that is in the seabed, removing any physical structure in their path. The Department has itself published a report1 describing the negative consequences of the use of mobile gear fishing. Another study conducted by de Groot and Lindeboom on behalf of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) also confirms that trawlers affect species renewal and reduce biotic structures. This is another example of how the Department is wilfully blind in this case.
In addition to direct impacts on the seabed, a return of trawlers would be catastrophic for coastal communities of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In addition to fishermen and factory workers, the entire population of these municipalities would suffer. This is why the Office des pêcheurs de flétan du Groenland du Québec (O.P.F.G.Q.) asks the government to use common sense and put a definitive end to its reintroduction project of groundfish trawling.
|(1)||Report available in electronic version on Fisheries and Oceans Canada's website. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas/csas/status/2006/SAR-AS2006_025_E.pdf|
SOURCE: Office des Pêcheurs de Flétan du Groenland du Québec (OPFGQ)
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