Foreshadowing doesn't only happen in books

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It was an abundant source of food, revenue and employment for thousands of fishers in outport communities, and its benefits extended all across the province.But in 1992, there was nothing but silence, and no matter where you were in the province you couldn't hear the sound of the jigger's line when it rubbed against the side of the boat.

The reason for that was because the province's king industry was done. All fished out. It was the start of the cod moratorium. It's been in place ever since.

Families were devastated. Rural Newfoundland and Labrador would never be the same and the socio-economic impacts are still being felt today.

The industry transformed. Shell fish: crap, lobster and shrimp would replace cod as the primary species to harvest for fishers.

Many fishers got out of the punts, and started purchasing enterprises. With that came bigger boats and larger quotas to harvest the delicate, but expensive shellfish that was once considered a nuisance by fishers.

The province's fishing industry had rebounded. The shellfish industry was booming, worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

But just recently, in one of the most precious and sought after areas in the province for crab - 3K, off the eastern tip of the Northern Peninsula, fishers had to leave roughly 15 per cent of this year's quota in the cold, heartless north Atlantic.

Depending who you talk to, some will say there's a decline in the resource, or the fact the season started late because the Fish Food and Allied Workers' (FFAW) union and the Association of Seafood Producers couldn't agree on a price, forcing fishers to tie up their boats at the start of the season.

No matter what you hear, every argument, every point of view, brings an eerie resemblance to the situation in 1992.

Sometimes the best advice can come from the people making a living off the resource and who are seeing the species every day of the week, rather than someone who knows its scientific title.

And maybe its time that government fully engage them, listen and implement some of their ideas, instead of disposing their knowledge into the sea like shellfish waste.

Organizations: Allied Workers, Association of Seafood Producers

Geographic location: Northern Peninsula

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