Just Crabby

Okay, I’ve held off on this topic long enough.

The crab fishery in Newfoundland is on hold. Harvesters, led by their union, have refused to go fishing until the the government backs down from its new production quota plan. Under that plan, the government gives fish plants (producers) a set quota of fish to process. Before, crab landings were limited only by what the harvesters could deliver to the wharf. The new system takes a lot of flexibility out of the process. Communities and smaller production companies will gain stability since they don’t have to worry about being edged out by big producers who gobble up quota; however, harvesters don’t like the fact that the production companies will drive the bus when it comes to how and where they sell their fish. They argue that the new system will lead to further exploitation of the harvesters by the producers.

The government, which is Conservative, is between a rock and a hard place. There have been all kinds of problems in the crab and shrimp fisheries over the last few years. Both the harvesters and the producers have refused to participate in the fishery at one point or another due to disagreements about pricing. There is also the problem of stability in rural Newfoundland. The usual ebb and flow of buyouts and consolidation among producers has wreaked havoc on many communities. The new system is definitely out of character for a typically conservative government, as it creates a relatively firm framework for the industry.

So, the harvesters are pissed about the new system. They’ve refused to fish and have managed to disrupt the functioning of the House of Assembly for the last couple weeks. Also, last week, a number of fishermen blocked the progress of oil tankers moving in and out of Placentia Bay. They’re back at it again today.

I don’t know about you, but this drives me nuts! I appreciate their desire to protest government action, but they don’t have the right to disrupt other government business and other industries. This reminds me of a couple years back when a group of fishermen blocked the TCH to protest something.

I just did my taxes and guess what, the government is taking thousands and thousands of dollars away from me! Do I like it that NF has the highest personal tax rate in the country? No, but I’m not going to stop school buses from picking up the kids at J. J. Curling Elementary.