Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy 100th to the Lyin’ Cheatin’ Bastards

There was little fanfare (none, in fact), but a milestone was reached recently on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland in regards to LCBs.

My apologies, you probably don’t know what LCB stands for.

The acronym is used by the flight crews that do surveillance over the Banks, keeping check of foreign trawlers outside the 200-mile limit.

It stands for Lyin’ Cheatin’ Bastards.

Happy 100th LCBs!

Exactly 100 citations have been issued against LCBs for illegal fishing since 2004, which is as far back as the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans goes in terms of the online posting of foreign fishing citations.

The 100th citation was apparently issued on April 1.

Although it wasn’t actually posted on DFO’s website until the end of April.

DFO takes its sweet time.

But then it’s only fish.

Here’s the posting:

Canadian NAFO inspectors boarded the Portuguese (EU) fishing vessel Franca Morte fishing redfish in NAFO Division 3N. A citation was issued to the master of the vessel for having smaller than the required mesh size on two side panels of a four-panel fishing trawl. This is considered a serious citation under NAFO Conservation and Enforcement Measures.

I wonder exactly how small the mesh was?

Could a pencil fit through?

How about a Bic?

I have more questions, but then DFO only releases minimum detail for fear it may jeopardize international relations.

Which take precedence over NL relations.

The 100 citations were issued against 69 trawlers, 51 of which were from the European Union. Portugal (17 vessels cited) and Spain (16 vessels cited) are the worst offenders.

That’s the same EU that banned the sale of Canadian seal products, by the way.

The EU accuses Canada of being inhumane to seals as it picks the Grand Banks clean of fish.

Sounds about right.

Just so you know, the number of illegal fishing citations is on the decline.

So far in 2010 two citations have been issued, compared to 30 citations in 2005.

That could have something to do with there being fewer fish to chase.

And better surveillance, of course.

The objection procedure also has something to do with it.

There’s no need for countries to fish illegally when they can use the perfectly legal objection procedure as a means to fish to their heart’s content.

Any NAFO-member country that isn’t happy with a quota can launch a formal objection and unilaterally set its own quota.

How wicked is that?

Federal administration after federal administration has promised custodial management of the Grand Banks but all have failed to deliver.

There are some changes coming to NAFO but none that will put any teeth in it.

Former federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn was quoted in the May 1st Telegram as saying the fishing industry could benefit from restructuring.

He says we have far too many fish plants.

This may be a stupid question, but could it also be that we have too few fish?

And could the Lyin’ Cheatin’ Bastards have anything to do with that?

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