The NL Fishery Assassin

By David Boyd, Twillingate, Newfoundland.

Our province, our fisheries are in the grip of a hellish nightmare.
An assassin is on the loose.
Let us begin.
The Caplin biomass are in dire shape.
So are our Wild Salmon – just a mere 30,000 striving to survive in south coast currents.
Toxic fish farms have instead become the priority of politicians’ hearts.
They permit fake fish proponents to rule our waters – spinning fishy tales and casting misery to our wild species.
Oil, too, has become the politician’s potion. The smell of fish on their hands is dirty.
The assassin’s cloak spreads further.
Shellfish, like crab and shrimp, have dived in numbers in recent years.
The iconic cod is still below historic numbers – notwithstanding 26 years of a fishing moratorium.
Meanwhile, offshore draggers are unleashed on south coast cod.
There are still no rebuilding plans for any of our groundfish, including the cod.
Seal populations explode, while their ravenous appetites devour our precious protein.
They are the untouchables.
The nightmare deepens. The assassin’s aim is indiscriminate.
A vital surf clam quota is expropriated from our province and passed unto another part of Canada – just like that. Indigenous reconciliation – on the backs of NL’s inshore fishermen.
Redfish are landed so small in one town that they can only be used as bait.
Fish are exported out of our province, unprocessed and unchecked.
Fish harvesters are dragged to court for peaceful protests.
Fish licenses can no longer pass hands from one generation to the next without excessive regulations. Old fishers are a dying breed.
Boat length policies leave some fishers dead in the water.
And yet, neither level of government knows how many fish harvesters we have in our waters.
Adjacency is purposely excluded for inclusion in The Fishery Act. NL is the victim.
Harvesters from Quebec have a feast near our shores, while our fishing folks sit idle.
Fishery science boats are more often up for refit, than carrying out vital fish research.
Science is saying a silent prayer, but blocked from sprinting forward to save us.
“Nar Fish” has become our mantra.
We are caught in the grip of a nightmare that is sucking the breath out of our salty veins with each assassin’s shot.
No wonder the heartbeat of rural NL is weakly pumping.
Our fish culture has been cut off at the knees, with little strength to save itself from the assassin who appears to be everywhere.
There is nothing on the horizon to save us.
There are no fish warriors within government circles to fight the good fight and lead us out of this dark place where the assassin hides.
The Central Beast commands our destiny and continues to extract every last stand of our fish DNA. They continue to invite private and greedy accomplices to the table to take control of our common property resource.
Pleas for public transparency, inquiry and justice into this endless nightmare are ignored.

As a people and a province, we are left gasping and believing we are targeted for extinction in this nightmare.
Our NL Soul is being slowly struck down, bit by bit.
The Assassin infiltrates and leaves
Empty spaces, places and faces.
Empty seas.
Where John Cabot’s baskets weep.