Speakers list released for today’s event to mark 30th anniversary of northern cod moratorium

June 30th, 2022 – The speakers list for the event scheduled for this afternoon to mark the 30th anniversary of the announced shutdown of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most iconic fishery has been finalized.

Moratorium Story, 30 Years On will include speakers Ches Crosbie, Toni Kearney, Merv Wiseman, Kimberly OrrenGus Etchegary, the Honourable Clyde Wells, Wilfred Bartlett, Amy House/Bernie Stapleton, and Mike Hearn. Biographies are included at the end of this release.

Ryan Cleary will also speak and host the event, with music provided by Newfoundland folk singer Jim Payne.

The event will be held from 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. today, in Salon B at the Delta Hotel in downtown St. John’s — the same room where the late John Crosbie, then-federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans, made the announcement on July 2, 1992.

Organizers will launch a petition in a bid to have northern cod declared the provincial fish. There will be an open microphone for comments from the floor.

The public is encouraged to attend and asked to bring a non-perishable food item. The event will be live streamed on Facebook.

Contact Ryan Cleary: 682 4862


Ches Crosbie is a lawyer and former leader of the Opposition in the provincial legislature whose father — the late, right Honourable John Crosbie — was the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans who ordered the northern cod moratorium.

Toni Keaney is a writer, poet, and the founder of Moratorium Children, a social business dedicated to revitalizing her hometown of Conche on the Great Northern Peninsula through sustainable tourism.

Merv Wiseman is known in most corners of Newfoundland and Labrador as a retired search and rescue coordinator with the Canadian Coast Guard, and an outspoken advocate for improved search and rescue services and fishing vessel safety. Merv is the son of an inshore fisherman, and one-time small-boat fisherman himself.

Kimberly Orren is a former high school science teacher turned commercial fisherman and co-founder of Fishing for Success, a nonprofit social enterprise in Petty Harbour that is creating a new pathway for the youth of the province to connect with their fishing heritage.

Gus Etchegary is a renowned expert in the fishery whose career as a corporate leader with Fishery Products Ltd. gives him unique insight into the historic collapse of northern cod. Mr. Etchegary, 98, is a former Canadian representative to both the International Commission of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries and the Northwest Atlantic Fishery Organization or NAFO.

The Honourable Clyde Wells was the fifth premier of Newfoundland from 1989 to 1996 who was in office when the moratorium was introduced. Mr. Wells subsequently served as Chief Justice of Newfoundland and Labrador, sitting on the Supreme Court of Newfondland and Labrador (Court of Appeal) from 1998 to 2009.

Retired Captain Wilfred Bartlett was born in Lushes Bight in 1936, and started hauling lobster pots as a boy. He’s a one-time mayor of Brighton, founding chairman of the Green Bay South Regional Fishermen’s Committee. Wilfred served on the advisory committee to the Canadian Saltfish corporation, and vice-president of the Newfoundland Inshore Fisheries Association, and is a well-known writer of letters.

Amy House/Bernie Stapleton have — both separately and together — been making plays and telling our important cultural stories for over 40 years. Their new television show Door to Door Downsizing debuts this fall on Bell Fibe TV One.

Jim Payne is a Newfoundland folk singer, storyteller, actor, writer, step-dancer, and teacher of traditional Newfoundland set and square dances.

Mike Hearn is a well-respected inshore fisherman from Petty Harbour. Mike fished cod traps and handline for 60 years before retiring at the age of 75 a few years ago, passing on his fishing enterprise to his son Danny.