Letter to the Editor
Judging by the number of letters to the editor of this paper and the Chronicle Herald, along with the profusion of “No MPA Here” signs along the Eastern Shore, a visitor might well assume that the residents of this area are unanimous in not wanting an MPA here
This is not true; many of us were described by Tammy DeWolf in the March edition “They are quiet by nature, not rebellious, but they love the area; they have a personal connection and affection for the shore. They know the islands and each cove and rock around them.” However in contrast to Ms DeWolf's assertion, we do not believe an MPA will destroy what we have around us.
We supported the fishing industry when there was a threat of the imposition of a so-called “no take” zone. However, there has been written assurance from high levels of the DFO there will be no area closed to lobster fishing and that fixed gear fishing (including lobster traps) will be allowed.
Based on this, we are hard pressed to understand the continuing intransigence of the industry in continuing to oppose an MPA. The industry complained of lack of consultation when the Eastern Shore Fishermen's Protection Association (ESFPA) was the first to be notified of the possibility of the creation of an MPA.
Subsequently, there have been a profusion of community meetings, some of which I have attended. The invective and lack of civility displayed at these was, to say the least, disappointing. Paranoia was rampant, even to the point that it all was a United Nations plot.
Chis Jones, an ex DFO employee, has been stoking this paranoia with his outrageous “gang of three” pronouncements. Contrary to his declaration that this would be the “imposition” of Canada's “first coastal marine park,” there are three I know of in British Columbia: Gwaii HaanasNational Park and National Marine Conservation Area Reserve; Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, and Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.
None of these marine parks have caused mass community outrage, and have in fact proved to be an economic boon to the areas where they are found. Jones speaks of foreign-funded NGOs targeting the Eastern Shore and says he has paper to prove it. I would like to see that information published here.
Many believe that traditional use of the islands in the area will be adversely affected, despite the fact that DFO has said that the MPA would only affect up to the low water mark; the islands are not within their jurisdiction.
The biggest threat to the lobster fishing industry in this area is not an MPA, it is open-pen fish farms. Cooke Aquaculture and Cermaq, a Norwegian company [Cermaq is a fully owned subsidiary of the Japanese multinational Mitsubishi Corporation—ed.]are planning extensive expansion of operations in our province.
There is a wealth of scientific evidence to show the deleterious effects of this industry on the environment. A recent paper published in a first-class international journal shows how lobster catches are adversely affected by open-pen fish feed lots.
The ESFPA could do itself and all of us a great favour by bargaining with the DFO and accepting an MPA in return for assurances that open-pen fish farms would not be allowed in our area and also that they have a major role in the ongoing management of the MPA. If then, as some seem to believe, DFO would unilaterally try to change the rules to the detriment of the lobster industry, I for one would throw my full support behind the ESFPA.
--Timothy Lambert, Ship Harbour