Letter to the Editor from Kevin Clattenburg
Funny reading the Cooperatorhaving DFO scientists weighing in on kelp and seaweed about how great it is here when overharvesting was taking place at Pleasant Harbour Tangier and DFO was unaware. Thankfully us that live here complained and the situation was finally rectified 2 weeks later. Again DFO was abusing our waters; apparently an American company sold their license, and the new company was unaware of the heavy harvesting of the rockweed that already took place. I wonder how this will affect the baby lobster the lobster fishery in later years?
A park is a park, no matter if you call it an MPA or some other sneaky term. What do they think we are? Stupid! I googled “Park” and I am told a park is for protection or for human enjoyment and recreation; which is it? Yet DFO is still talking areas of closure to us that live here and those that make a living here.
As for a park, government already took our best property and protected our beaches from local businesses building campgrounds, cottages and motels, and other tourism-related businesses. You cannot get within a mile of our beaches; theses desert zones deprive the Eastern Shore people of any economic benefits, but it sure is a nice day trip for the city folk.
Speaking of tourism; there are two-foot deep trails across our islands; toilet paper through the woods; coffee cups and litter along our roads. We don't have fast food here but you would not know it by the trails of garbage. Do we need to over-promote our shore? Maybe we should take that money for litter education.
Another laugh I continue to have is the misinformation that New Zealand and Nova Scotia's situations are the same: "MPA's in New Zealand no take zone are re-establishing fish after overfishing." Come on people, our fisherman are not overfishing. Here our harvesters have developed a commercial lobster fishery that the lobsterman/woman can make a descent living. We do not want an MPA No Take Zone to take that away from even one of our fishermen. What a slap in the face to our commercial harvesters.
DFO is desperate; they are losing the battle to force an MPA on us. DFO has nothing to offer. We the people have been overseeing our forgotten coast for centuries. In the eyes of the federal government, everything is for sale.
Since I started writing this letter, I read that Trudeau's Government has issued two licenses to drill on Sable Island, our federal park. Nothing is sacred to this government; environmental groups are calling on Nova Scotia to take back Sable Island; the Eastern Shore is the biggest land grab in Canadian history. Alberta and Quebec would not give up sovereignty over their waters, why should we? Where is our provincial government in this? DFO has been mismanaging our waters for years; a government 1500 kilometers away does not have our back. Say no to an MPA.
[For an overview of the MPA debate with links to all stories from the Cooperator, federal and provincial agencies, and grassroots organizations, go to the Cooperator's special webpage on "Debating the Eastern Shore Islands Marine Protected Area."]