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Fisheries On-line Forum Launched

Fisheries On-line Forum Launched ( Visit It )

Nova Scotia’s Coastal Communities Network (CCN) has launched a new on-line forum. CCN has been following the lobster crisis in the Maritimes for months and feels that it is time to put a communication plan into action. If this industry needs restructuring, the right people had better start talking. CCN feels that the right people to restructure this very important industry are the people who started the fisheries hundreds of years ago: fish harvesters, along with their communities.

“The problem is that people don’t have the opportunity to talk to each other and find common ground,” says CCN Chair Jackie Race, adding, “We sought and received funding from the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries to start an on-line forum as a way to get dialogue going.” In the past, CCN has hosted Fisheries Round Tables, fisheries conferences and, a year ago January, a well attended session on proposed changes to the federal Fisheries Act.

“Over the last 16 years, CCN has played an important role in helping fishing organizations work together to look for solutions. In today’s world, the funding is just not there for face-to-face meetings, so we looked toward the next best thing,” explains Race.

So, what issues are likely to be discussed? Talk will range from building co-ops to government policies, from sustainable fisheries to working together and looking for solutions.

Some initial discussions that might spark much further dialogue:

“Since the late ‘70s, when fleets in all sectors of the fishery began to grow just as new technology was developing, people outside the fishery began to invest as a mean of making money. Thirty years later, after Individual Transferable Quotas and Trust Agreements – all now owned by big companies and their investors – there is a crisis: too many people in the fishery.”

“There is talk about buy-back of licenses. Just remember this: once you sell it, it is forever gone from the community. This has already happened in the groundfishery. If we want our children to stay and live in our fishing communities, we had better start thinking about what we are selling: privileges that some people feel no one should have the right to sell.”

“The ocean floor and the seafood it produces are very valuable to big business, and big business seems to have the government and our money behind it to buy in big-time. When a fisherman sells her privilege to fish, she sells part of her community. History shows that when too many fisher harvesters sell their privileges, the community collapses: many communities have been shut down because fish harvesters sold fish still in the water to those whose interests are primarily based elsewhere.”

The Coastal Communities Network invites those involved in the fishery and people in their communities to join us on our blog to discuss the future of the inshore fishery at www.coastalcommunities.ns.ca

For more information call Ishbel Munro at (902)752-9529, or email coastalnet@ns.sympatico.ca

Ishbel Munro
Coastal Communities Network
P.O. Box 402
New Glasgow, NS B2H 5E5
(902) 752-7982   Note: Temporary phone number 752-9529

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