By Brian Murphy
[Editor’s note: In promoting the creation of a Marine Protected Area along the Eastern Shore, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has cited increased tourism as a potential source of new jobs and new businesses. But opponents of the MPA are questioning this assumption, raising questions about the impact of increased tourism, such as increased litter and habitat disruption.
Brian Murphy, has found himself the subject of an unfounded rumor that he supports creating the MPA to further the fortunes of his company, Murphy’s Camping on the Ocean. Murphy contacted the Cooperator, and shared lengthy emails he had written trying to set the record straight. This article is an edited version of two of these emails.]
As a long-time supporter of the fishing community, I have been shocked and surprised by how quickly some opponents of the MPA have thrown some of their former allies under the bus.
I worked hard as a member of the Association for the Protection of the Eastern Shore (APES) to keep out Open Pen Salmon Farms. APES also supported the 100 Wild Islands Campaign to protect our islands from development and free to be used by everyone. At the time, both of these initiatives had community meetings and had the support of the communities involved. I am dismayed by the accusation that APES supports the MPA simply because of the organization’s willingness to go through the DFO’s process before taking a position.
And I have been equally dismayed to learn of the unfounded rumor that I personally support the MPA because I think it will benefit my business. As I have repeatedly said,
I am not deciding one way or another until I know more about it.
Until lately, I did not realize how much resentment there is toward Tourism in general. Tourism Nova Scotia has been strongly encouraging people like me to try experiential tourism. I have been doing this work for 20 years and my father 40 years before that. Destination Halifax recognizes we are becoming very popular and have promoted our tour boat in its advertising commercials.
We have grown into a very well established and very popular tourism destination. By doing so, we support the community in many ways. For instance this past summer we hired three students and two seniors to help out, and our son, Ryan, plays a big part. Many thousands of guests visit us each year. These guests stay for extended periods of time, visiting local businesses from Porters Lake to Sheet Harbour, andbeyond,including restaurants, gas stations, attractions like Memory Lane, church suppers, craft shops and especially buying local lobster which I promote highly.
I am also hearing that kayakers are causing havoc out and around the islands, leaving garbage and stomping through bird nesting areas. Some fishermen and hunters seem to blame these people for the litter on the islands. I spend a lot of time on and around these islands, and I see who’s using them and how. The kayakers I know are first of all nature lovers; not only do they clean up their trash, but they bring back trash others have left behind. I am sure they are not all saints, but then neither are some of the local fishermen and hunters who also leave trash behind.
At this point, I am neither for nor against this MPA. But one wonders, what will the consequences be, if we as a community at least don’t try to negotiate an MPA that could be good for all of us.