December 11, 2020
Dear Islands Grapevine Editor:
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” appears to be the rationale DFO is now using to solve its shellfish industry escaped equipment problem. Paying the industry to clean up after themselves was met with hostility (rightly so) but perhaps partnering with those mostly affected might smooth over the waters of discontent. Having ADIMS involved in hiring a local to clean up after the industry is a shrewd move indeed, but only amounts to slapping a bandaid on a festering wound.
Stopping escapement at the source (the tenures) is the solution and the legal responsibility of the tenure holder. Allowing equipment to escape is a violation of their Shellfish Conditions of License. DFO’s job is to enforce those SCOLs but instead, every year, DFO throws hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars at those responsible, to clean up after themselves.
Over 200 oyster baskets, trays, buckets, ropes etc. (that were obviously being stored on rafts) ended up on our beaches in November, so how will hiring a local from January to March help? The tenure owner responsible was notified, admitted to the lost equipment, sent a crew that came for the “easy pikins” and left the rest. The owner was again notified that there was more to pick up and after a week, the 150 remaining baskets were removed with great difficulty by volunteers (including an 80 yr. old). The owner then thanked the volunteers and seeing that it was all collected, asked for it back.
Meanwhile, the industry keeps receiving hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars for Min. of Agriculture and DFO handouts annually and we keep enabling them to continue to destroy the marine environment through their harmful practices. The wound continues to fester……… Edi Johnston