Gone fishing

Dalley appointed to Fisheries and Aquaculture portfolio

Published on November 14, 2012

The Isles of Notre Dame MHA Derrick Dalley has taken on the role of provincial Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister.

Jim Hildebrand photo

PROVINCIAL — Derrick Dalley, MHA for the riding of The Isles of Notre Dame, has had a meteoric rise through the ranks of politics.

By JIM HILDEBRAND

The Pilot

 

PROVINCIAL — Derrick Dalley, MHA for the riding of The Isles of Notre Dame, has had a meteoric rise through the ranks of politics. 

First elected in 2007 where he defeated then Liberal party leader Gerry Reid by only 12 votes, he has held several prominent positions in the Progressive Conservative government. Under former Premier Danny Williams he was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Education. He was also appointed vice-chair of the Public Accounts Committee in 2008. After Premier Williams’ resignation the leadership of the party was passed to Kathy Dunderdale.  Minister Dalley received his first cabinet position, appointed Minister of Business in January 2011.

As the Conservative Party went to the polls in 2011, Minister Dalley’s seat was reconfirmed by the electorate this time building on his success in the District and soundly defeating liberal candidate Danny Dumaresque by a margin of almost 1,700 votes.

In October 2011 Premier Dunderdale appointed Minister Dalley as the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

During this period Minister Dalley was a strong advocate of tourism in The Isles of Notre Dame District as well as the province as a whole. He emphasized the need for the cooperation of all stakeholders to unite in an effort to build an even more successful industry and at the same time to ensure that high standards were being established to make the tourists stay in the province a memorable occasion. 

During a cabinet shuffle by Premier Dunderdale in October 2012, he was appointed Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. In a province where the issues surrounding the fishing industry are often highly contentious Minister Dalley is diving into the job with a positive outlook. 

“I’m excited to be the new Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for the province,” he said. “The fisheries are such an important part of our province — our history, our heritage and certainly our future. It has tremendous influence in our rural communities and to be able to represent rural communities and head a department that has such importance in our district and the province is a great honour. 

“The fisheries are extremely valuable to this province and we are very apt to look at the challenges in the provinces in the fisheries and often times we neglect to consider the positive. The fisheries continue to be important to the province with 20,000 people working in it and many rural communities and certainly communities in my district are dependant on the fishery. Obviously within that we want to work together and try to build a sustainable fishery where we consider the stewardship, the management and the leadership that is needed in this industry. I’m excited to be part of that.”

His first day on the job, Minister Dalley was introduced to some of the challenges in the industry — the OCI and Fortune issue.

“The fisheries continue to be important to the province with 20,000 people working in it and many rural communities and certainly communities in my district are dependant on the fishery.” — Derrick Dalley

“The issues around quota allocations and the harvesting of our resources, as well as using these resources to maximize the benefit for the people of the Newfoundland and Labrador are essential for our province,” said Minister Dalley. “We have minimum processing requirements which are a part of our managing principles, but ultimately the principles have to support our people and our communities.”

Minister Dalley has an important role in forming the direction of how the province will proceed with the development of fishing resources. There is a seemingly endless amount of issues that have historically plagued the industry that has been a mainstay of the provincial economy. 

“Of immediate concern is the decline of crab stocks in the 3K harvesting area. There are some serious concerns about the sustainability of the stocks and DFO decisions around the resource will have short term and long term implications,” he said. “While the crab situation is certainly a concern, the increase in cod stock is heartening as we have passed the 20th anniversary of the moratorium. 

“Dr. George Rose, formerly of the Marine Institute and now director of the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research, has undertaken valuable research of northern cod to help better inform decisions and efforts to re-establish a sustainable fishery in the future.”

For the Island of Twillingate, Minister Dalley was able to shed some light on the newly formed plant and its’ role in the economy.

“The shrimp shell drying facility in Twillingate operated in the first year and had good success,” he said. “Twenty-three people were employed, but there were some challenges in the process. The product was excellent and had good reviews, but there were operational challenges that created problems for the company. There has been much activity and interest in recent months and I am optimistic that it will re-start in the spring.”

 

Constituents

As much as the new portfolio will occupy a great deal of Minister Dalley’s time and energy, he must still look after the needs of his constituents.

“We have a great District and our government has been committed to our rural communities,” he said. “We will continue to work on Municipal Capital Works. We still have multiple capital requests that we are working through. 

“It’s true, we have had great success in municipal affairs in terms of getting some of the projects accomplished, but transportation needs continue to be a primary issue, where I continue to focus. Not only on our road network, but the Fogo Island and Change Island ferry service as well.”

The Minister said looking towards the future, he wants to build on the success and continue to see positives things happen in the district.

“I want to continue to see investment in our health care system, our schools, our roads and our ferry services,” he said. “We will continue to build on the municipal infrastructure as well as continuing to build on the good investments we have made in recreation in the District. 

“We are starting to see more interest and participation in recreation and healthy living which is certainly very positive and I want to continue to help build on the quality of life in the district.”

In terms of the Fogo Island/ Change Islands Ferry, “. . . we continue to work towards our vessel replacement plan in the province.” 

“We have announced that the engineering and design work has been completed and has been approved by Transport Canada,” said Minister Dalley. “A tremendous amount of work has been done and we have already indicated that we are going to look at an RFP process to determine who is interested in building our ferries.”

“The fisheries continue to be important to the province with 20,000 people working in it and many rural communities and certainly communities in my district are dependant on the fishery.” — Derrick Dalley

Reflect

As Minister Dalley continues to get up to speed on the demands of the fisheries he also took time to reflect on his last ministry.

“I certainly enjoyed my time in Tourism, Culture and Recreation. It is a very important part of the provincial economy and extremely important in my district. Any time you get the opportunity to represent your district in something that has such close ties and is so important on a provincial level, it is obviously a great honour. 

“During my one year as Minister we did a lot of work to build relationships in the industry and not only in Tourism but in the Culture and Arts side to try and meet some of the challenges. Being able to manage and look at new directions in terms of continuing to promote the structure of our tourism from the Provincial Tourism Board to Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, and to our Destination Management Organizations was certainly fulfilling.”

Minister Dalley said to continue to encourage and recognize that the success of the tourism industry will be about working together, and to be able to promote and carry that message was rewarding for him.

“I was able to see some good things happening in the industry as a result of it and to be able to clearly focus on where we want to be through Vision 2020,” he said. “One of the objectives that we started to work on this year was the quality assurance piece. 

“Through our marketing efforts we continue to be a destination that is in high demand and we have great numbers in our tourism industry, but beyond that we want to assure that we continue to deliver a high quality product and we’ve been able to focus on that this year as well. These initiatives are important to the tourism industry and The Isles of Notre Dame. Our marketing efforts focused on the central region this year and I was happy to be a part of that as well.”

 

twillingatepilot@hotmail.com

 

Correction

In the article “Gone fishing” in the Nov. 14 edition of The Pilot, the reference to Dr. George Rose requires a correction. Dr. Rose is the director of the Marine Institute’s Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research (CFER). He is not formerly of the Marine Institute, as he has never left and the CFER is part of the Marine Institute.