I am writing to express my concerns for the livelihood of my family. I was raised as the daughter of a fisherman and continued this trend when I married a fisherman. Until November 2010, the fishery had been our main source of income for our family. With the decrease in the crab quota for the past two years, we decided to relocate to Alberta for the winter season in order to achieve financial security.
The decrease in the crab quota would be more tolerable and acceptable if the crab stocks increased. Then we could truly see the benefit of sacrificing the reduction of our livelihood. However, I fear this will never happen.
As my apprehension rises with the cost of expenses for our fishing business, the decrease in the crab quota and downward spiralling of the anticipated price does nothing to alleviate my anxiety.
In my opinion, Newfoundland is also facing another disaster in its fishery. Crab is disappearing and many fishermen believe that this is due to the increasing rise in the population of harp seals.
From our viewpoint, one of the major causes of the declining crab stocks is that these resources have become sustenance for seals. It’s very unjust that fishermen have to refrain from fishing female crab to protect the stocks while seals are allowed to overpopulate and contribute to destroying the crab fishery.
The Newfoundland and Labrador government is to be commended for the financial support they gave Carino Processing Limited for the 2012 seal processing industry. Decreasing the seal population will help protect our crab, as well as cod stocks. The seal industry was only worth $1 million to the province last year but imagine the degeneration of future viable fisheries should it become obsolete. It is firmly believed that to end the seal fishery would be a total disaster for the future of our stocks. As the seals multiply, our remaining resources will be destroyed. Many fishermen have predicted this for years, to no avail. Change is imperative, but how much more has to happen to show these changes?
Much too often, we are watching as our towns become less populated as people are compelled to relocate in order to financially survive. We implore the government to take the necessary actions to preserve our livelihood and secure a future for our families and our fishing industry.