January / 1998

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Happy New Year!

Here's hoping that things improve in the fishery in 1998. Last year brought many disappointments: a poor lobster season; continuing bleak outlook on cod; not much in the way of herring and mackerel; and failure to get enough response to the mandatory dues vote. At the same time, costs and user fees keep mounting.

The good news is that this Local is still going strong. There have been regular port rep meetings throughout the year, and many issues have been discussed. Our views have been made known to DFO, and while we haven't won many big victories, we have probably avoided some more damage, and the fight continues! Members can at least feel confident that you have been well-represented at all advisory meetings.

Your Executive and Port Reps continue to deal with the bigger issues in the fishery. The battle for survival of inshore fishermen and women, and their communities, continues on many fronts, and we all need a united and a strong voice.

The new Fisheries Act will be reintroduced soon in the House of Parliament and we will have to work hard to ensure that our interests are known, and that this Act does not lead to more corporate control of the fishery, and less fishermen!

We will continue in 1998 to build on an alliance with other fishermen's organizations on this eastern side of Cape Breton. There has been some success in this regard with the work of the Cape Breton Management Board, for fixed-gear groundfish, the Eastern Nova Scotia Developing Species Advisory Board, Conference Calls for Cape Breton fishermen's organizations (organized by the Communications Secretariat), and a greater sense of the need to pool our efforts and get ready to assume greater control of the fishery, if we want any control at all. Our workshop with the other organizations will explore our options, and then we can report back on this at our annual meeting.


We have organized a workshop to discuss the possibilities with other fishermen's organizations on this side of Cape Breton. Arthur Bull, director of the Fundy Fixed-Gear Council, will be sharing their experience of working with an alliance of organizations in the Bay of Fundy, with the ultimate aim of a multi-species, community-based co-management organization, and plan.

Carol Corbin, of UCCB, and John Kearney, well-known to fishermen, and now with the Extension Department at St.F.X., will be the facilitators. The workshop will take place in the Multi-Purpose room at UCCB, Tuesday, January 13, 1998, beginning at 1:30 p.m.


We are confident that an MFU Health Plan will take effect this year. This will be discussed in more detail at our Annual General Meeting. All members will pay $50., over and above Dues, and will be covered 70% of drug and other costs throughout the year. Only members that have paid their Dues in 1997 will qualify for this Drug Plan. Members have up until the Annual Meeting to pay up their dues of $200. for 1997, if they have not done so yet.


MFU Members qualify for a disability insurance plan with Fairway Insurance Services Inc. Coverage is 24 hours per day, world wide coverage, on or off the job. Income replacement is payable for 2 years with a 14 day waiting period; weekly benefits of $400., tax free. There is also coverage for Rehabilitation, Home alteration and Vehicle modification; and lump sum payouts for Accidental death and dismemberment. Total annual policy premium is $292. per person.

As with Vessel Insurance with Fairway, they have to confirm with us that you have paid your MFU dues, in order to qualify for these special programmes and rates.

For more information, or to enroll in these plans, call Fairway at 1-888-245-4741.


Nautical Institute (Theatre), Port Hawkesbury, January 15 at 1:00 p.m.

Bob O'Boyle, of DFO Science, will be making a presentation dealing with Ecosystem Management Implications for Forage Species. This is in response to concerns expressed over the development of new fisheries in forage species such as krill, capelin, etc.

Will new fisheries in species such as these affect any recovery in groundfish, and other stocks? A good attendance at this workshop is needed if our concerns are to be heard.

Please be sure to come, and bring along another fishermen.


Mario Cormier has been working at MFU Head Office in Shediac, N.B. He has now been assigned to work with the Locals in Nova Scotia. You'll be seeing him in the near future. He is looking forward to working for us, and we welcome him. We need all of the help that we can get.

Since the MFU has become so large in New Brunswick, it is nice to know that someone will be focussing on the issues that we face here in Nova Scotia. We are hoping that he might be able to help us in recruiting new members. Mario is the son of a long-time MFU member, has worked at fishing, and has a Bachelor of Education.


There is a national meeting in Toronto, Jan.9 and 10, of participants representing the larger fishermen's organizations, as well as corporate representatives and DFO, from across Canada, to discuss a "Canadian Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing Operations". Jeff Brownstein will be attending, as part of the MFU delegation.

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, or FAO, unanimously adopted a Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries on 31 October, 1995. Canada was one of the signatories. There is something in the FAO Code that many of those pushing for a "Canadian Code" would like to omit: that is, FAO Code, Article 6.18:

The one consultation held in Halifax, last Feb. 21, almost broke into a riot, since there were so many inshore fishermen's representatives that protested the absence of the above clause in the "Canadian Code".

If you read any of the literature produced by the "Canadian Code" Secretariat, at DFO Ottawa, you'd believe that fishermen everywhere want this "Canadian Code", and that all of the consultations have been very positive. This is certainly not the truth, and hopefully the Toronto meeting will address the concerns that we have.

Stay tuned to where this "Canadian Code" is going. The aim is to include it in every fishing management plan, so this is something all of us are going to have to live with.


http://home.nstn.ca/~nstn1910/mfu/ (Maritime Fishermen's Union - Local 6)

Thanks to Carlo Lunn, we have become the first inshore fishermen's organization, that anyone is aware of, with our very own Website. There is information on who we are; what we have done and are doing; a list of port reps and committee reps; and our newsletters; and much more. Easy links to other interesting sites, like our Communications Secretariat, and so much more. Check it out and by all means, leave your comments.

Please Keep in Touch !

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