By Tammy DeWolfe
Still the MPA remains a hot topic among residents and nationwide. The threats it poses to the fishing industry have been made very clear.
As I am a fisher myself, I appreciate the support given to the industry, but I’d like to point out an equally important and large stakeholder, the community, and the people who will live with this MPA if it is to be imposed.
The Association of Eastern Shore Communities Protecting Environment and Historical Access represents and is supported by people of this area, including business owners, hunters, land owners, and fishers. They are families who have lived here for 5 generations, and those who have chosen here over anywhere else in the world. They are folks who have maintained family lobster shacks on the islands for over 100 years, who can’t get answers when they ask what will become of these shacks. They are teachers, divers, and students, people who fought against open pen fish farms, people who scattered ashes of loved ones among the special places these islands hold that only we know.
They are the stakeholders who have not been entertained by DFO. 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. They are people who believe this MPA will destroy what we have for the sake of a very few who have little or no personal investment in this area.
The national panel on MPAs stressed the need for community support because they know how communities can be affected. Will DFO respect those recommendations and stop this implementation process?
Tammy DeWolfe is a lobster fisher and a member of the Association of Eastern Shore Communities Protecting Environment and Historical Access (AESC-PEHA)