2001 was a busy year for many of the representatives of Local 6. Last March a brief was presented to the Atlantic Fisheries Policy Review. Similar to other briefs from the MFU, and the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters, our brief pointed out the importance of the owner-operator, multi-species fishermen as the ones who promise the best future for a sustainable industry, and resource stewardship. We stressed the importance of community-based management. Also, we focussed on the turnover in the fishery the high cost for new entrants, and the need for a capital-gains tax exemption of $500,000. for fishermen getting out of the fishery, especially when passing a licence over to a son or daughter.
In the summer we met with the Minister's Independent Panel on Access Criteria. We pointed out the need for more equitable sharing of fishery resources, and suggested that existing, broad-based organizations should have a role to play here, and that some portion of revenues from temporary surpluses in fisheries could be used for the long-term good of all fishermen.
We've had representatives at various meetings for different species, as well as Provincial Minister's conferences; meetings on Professionalization; and Native issues, and Transport Canada. Of course, we have led the battle against Oil and Gas exploration in our inshore waters. The MFU continues to work hard in the best interests of all inshore fishermen.
We have always maintained a solid membership, and hope that our members know of the work that we're doing and appreciate it. More questions and requests for information are always welcome.
As loyal as our membership remains, it always seems so difficult to get more fishermen involved especially younger fishermen, who have a long career ahead of them. Again this year we lost the opportunity to have all fishermen pay dues to an accredited organization. Once again, the votes were two-to-one in favour of mandatory dues, but we had only 55% of ballots returned. This was less than the 60% required for the vote to actually be official. A setback, yes, but nothing will stop the MFU from keeping up the good work of fighting for all fishermen, whether they support us or not! Still, it would be great to grow in numbers. Perhaps every member could try to bring in one more member.
Snow Crab quotas in almost all areas seemed to be caught more quickly than ever. Prices for crab were down quite a bit last year, but all fishermen are looking more and more to crab as an important part of their livelihood.
The issue of price-fixing in Snow Crab, and in Lobster as well, is getting a lot of attention from the MFU Maritimes-wide. We will be looking at the issue in depth at our upcoming Convention.
Last year we asked for an expanded commercial index fishery over and above what we had the year before. The FRCC agreed with us but we did not get the support of DFO Science. We did get some quota for a commercial index fishery in the Fall, at short notice from DFO. While DFO continues to say that there is no improvement in the cod stocks in 4Vn, our fishermen were finding more recruitment and some good catches of nice size cod down North, and out in deeper water.
HERRING AND MACKEREL
Again this year the Herring fishery was closed down in the Bras d'Or Lakes. We will be trying to get a limited re-opening so that we can at least get an idea of how the stocks are doing. The herring fishery off of Glace Bay last Fall was short in days but saw some good catches.
Mackerel were not very abundant in the Spring, but there were lots around all Fall. However, they were small to medium in size, and there was not much market for them.
Please let us know if your address has changed in the last year or so. Many of you now have new civic addresses, and/or new postal codes. Could you let me know here in the Local, and I will pass the change of address on to Head Office.
For all of you members that now have an e-mail address: it would be nice to get an e-mail from you, so that your e-mail address can go on our Members' list. Please e-mail me at: email@example.com
Also, don't forget our website at: http://home.ca.inter.net/~carlo/MFU-6/
I hope that you all have a safe, healthy, and a successful fishing season in 2002! Please keep in touch. Hope to see you all at our Annual Meeting,
* Please don't forget to come out and support fishermen, and our allies, who are trying to stop Oil and Gas Exploration in our inshore waters at the Public Review Commission Hearings at the Wagmatcook Culture Centre , January 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 and 31. (10:00-5:00)
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