Scientist joins fight for fishery inquiry

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A former federal fisheries scientist, who recently chaired the Royal Society of Canada expert panel on sustaining Canada’s marine biodiversity, is supporting calls for an inquiry into the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery. 

The inquiry is needed to learn from past mistakes and ensure the same mistakes are not repeated, according to a news release from St. John’s South-Mount Pearl NDP MP Ryan Cleary.

The MP has been pushing for an inquiry into the fishery, and has now received the support of Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University biology professor Jeffrey Hutchings.

“Despite the collapse of northern cod and several other fish in the early 1990s, these stocks still have no rebuilding plans, rebuilding timelines, or science-determined recovery target,” Hutchings was quoted.

The Newfoundland and Labrador cod stocks remain at critically low levels, while Norway has managed to rebuild their cod stocks, according to Hutchings. 

Cleary introduced a private members bill calling for an inquiry, but that was defeated in the House of Commons last December. 

Since then, Cleary’s office has reviewed the various fisheries studies and reports, and concluded that many of the major recommendations were not implemented. 

Hutchings has criticized the government in the past for their failure to heed scientific advice, and feels an inquiry is needed to prevent future mistakes. 

“An inquiry is needed to ensure that we have learned from the mistakes of the northern cod collapse, to initiate a long-term recovery plan for Canadian cod stocks, and to fully engage all Canadians in this key effort which will help establish Canada as a world leader in the stewardship and responsible management of our oceans,” Hutchings was quoted.

Cleary called the collapse of the Grand Banks fishery a “crime against nature,” and criticized the Conservatives for rejecting the inquiry as well as cutting budgets. 

Read the defeated Newfoundland and Labrador Fishery Rebuilding Act here.


Organizations: Royal Society of Canada, Dalhousie University, House of Commons Conservatives

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Nova Scotia Norway

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Recent comments

    March 21, 2012 - 06:48

    who will pay for this inquiry mr. cleary ? OOPS ! i forgot THE TAXPAYER. an inquiry will be a waste of money and will make some one rich when you can go to a kindergarten class and get the same answers for free. it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the cod stocks mr. cleary, its called SEALS.

    • Seal
      March 21, 2012 - 11:18

      The seals in Canadian waters are like the sacred cows of India to our federal government. Getting elected, for politicians, is more important than the livelihood of east coast fisherman. We should all get involved ,in NL. because our traditional way of life is at stake.

  • Casey
    March 20, 2012 - 12:14

    An inquiry should have been held back in the early 90's. I suspect the main reason it wasn't was because to many (mostly in Ottawa) were afraid of their actions being exposed. Considering what we have running the show at the federal level right now there may be a slim chance to get this rolling. Good for you Cleary, to bad there are not more like you!