How far has the NL fishery fallen?
Not quite so far that boats are being burned, but enough so that they're losing their reason for being.
Some grocery stores have stopped carrying fish caught off our shores.
Costco no longer sells Atlantic cod and halibut or any other “wild species” that’s red-flagged as “at great risk."
Instead, Costco freezers are stocked with Vietnam-farmed catfish, or tilapia from Honduras, according to a story in the Weekend Telegram.
Costco won’t resume sales of Atlantic cod or halibut unless the sources of the fish are certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, which bills itself as a “leading certification and ecolabelling program for sustainable seafood.”
Sobeys and Loblaws have given themselves a deadline of 2013 by which time they will be committed to sell seafood from sustainable sources only.
Which will likely rule out NL cod — unless Ottawa gets its arse in gear.
At the time, Ottawa decided — for “socio-economic reasons” — not to list the species as endangered under the Species at Risk Act.
To do so would have forced restrictions on commercial cod fishing.
In 2010, COSEWIC reassessed cod stocks and again designated them as “endangered.”
So, 19 years after the northern cod fishery off Newfoundland's northeast coast and Labrador was shut down, the federal government has begun a process to determine whether the species should be listed under the Species at Risk Act.
Which could take up to three or four more years to determine.
And longer still for a recovery plan.
Released last week, the latest report on the province’s fishery calls for massive downsizing, including more than half of all fishing enterprises and 30 per cent of all fish plants.
In the absence of a recovery plan, the only way fish stocks can turn around is by good luck.
And if anything could be declared endangered in regards to the NL fishery, it’s that.
I'll post a full review of professor Tom Clift's report on fishing industry rationalization and restructuring in the coming days.