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January 26, 2018     Quoddy Tides
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26 January, 2018 THE QUODDY TIDES Page 29 CANADIAN SCALLOP FISHERY (from page 1) and to change their boats over to scallop area adequately; a handful of tows are in- gear. "The number of people who got out sufficient, and "it doesn't matter how lobstering over Christmas was very bright the individuals setting the quota small," she says. "It made it worthwhile to are" if they don't have the budget for good delay." science. "I'm not criticizing the science This year's mid-bay quotas are 129 people," he adds, but they can't do good tonnes for Area 6 - Grand Manan, Cam- work with no budget. He relates an inqui- pobello, Deer Island and the Wolves is- ry to DFO regarding the number of boats lands - and 196 tonnes for Area 1 - the out, and says they couldn't tell him, de- New Brunswick side of the upper bay. spite hailing requirements and black box- The latter is split evenly between summer es. On one day it was "somewhere and winter fisheries. Morse says the Area between 28 and 53. That's quite a bit of 6 quota was cut this year by about 20 difference" for GMFA and scientists try- tonnes because "the science surveys said ing to estimate daily catches. they weren't seeing any small scallops," He fears for the future of the fishery meaning the stock that is there now has to under the quota system and says, "How last a few years. She notes that scallop many groundfish draggers are on Grand fisheries are typically cyclical. "We saw Manan now? How many purse seiners? the peak a few years ago, and now we're Zero." The full-bay scallop fishery also on the downward side. I think people were has individual transferable quotas (ITQ), anticipating that." However, "there are and he says the fleet is a quarter to a third commercial [sized] scallops out there, but of its former size. "It's a poor manage- people are not able to catch them" with ment tool, good for company takeovers." the low quotas. With an "unrealistically low" mid-bay The two associations hold frequent con- quota, he says people may eventually want ference calls with Department of Fisheries ITQs, then it will be easier to sell one's and Oceans (DFO) representatives as they quota than rig up to fish, and "it's bad for try to keep track of activity. With "hail in" coastal communities when companies required two hours before the day's end, gobble [quotas] up." He also feels DFO there are often two more hours of fishing doesn't enforce its own rules about con- to factor in, so daily catches are estimates, trolling trust agreements, "where the com- The previous day's report is received at pany buys a license and puts it in someone 10 a.m and it can take a few days for else's name andpretendsit's theirs." logbooks to be entered. Morse adds that in Cook wants to see the fishery return to bad weather it is hard to guess how many regulation of effort, with a certain amount boats will get out and what the catches of gear and time. "The quota needs to go. will be. "Nobody wants to close before They inch the quota up and down, and it it's time, but nobody wants to overrun," has nothing to do with biomass. Scallops she says. "We're doing the best we can come and go. It's nothing to do with fish- with the numbers we have." ing; it's nature. When production spiked, Area 1 closed on January 19 and Area6 you fished hard." When it tapered off, on January 22. The Grey Zone near Ma- "you fished less because it was less re- chias Seal Island is open all year with no warding. Now they have a quota and say quota. The summer quota for Area 1 may 'save it for later.'" last a week, but Morse says, "Once Area 6 He argues that it has been shown that is closed, that's it." large beds of sc~llops will die off if left unharvested. After the "tremendous Fisherman believes boom" of the past two or three years, the quota system needs to go meat quality is starting to drop "but the "Absolutely ridiculous," says fisherman abundance is there now. The only rational Laurence Cook about the season-limiting thing to do is harvest if they're going to quota and the stock assessment. He is the die anyway." chair of GMFA's lobster committee and a The system is also frustrating when member of the Inshore Scallop Adxtisory fishermen may spend thousands of dollars Committee. He disagrees with t he purport- on maintenance and gearing up for a ed lack of small scallops, saying the sea- week-long season. Cook says it took al- son is "going gangbusters; there are most as long to rig up the boat as it did to scallops everywhere," and that everyone fish. "Scalloping could be supporting the he has talked to has seen plenty, including island in a big way," he continues, main- small ones. He says the science tows are taining that crew, shuckers, ice and other done in areas randomly selected by a com- fishery spin-offs contribute more to the puter with no attention to the type of bot- island economy per pound than lobstering tom. There are some types of bottom does. "It's almost obscene for the govern- where scallops simply don't live, and if ment to shut this down. It's a waste of a tows are done there "it brings the average Canadian resource," he believes. down. It's a ridiculous way to do it." Cook says the price is down from last He argues that while DFO claims scal- year, but they won't know exactly what it loping is a "science-based fishery," they is until they are paid, which in this case don't have the budget to study the large will be after the season is closed. Your Local Restaurant for Fine Dining Join Us for An Evening of Love on Valentine's Day . 3-Course Exclusive Menu $30 per person. Call for details. Reservations start at 4 p.m. HOURS: Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. : elp d, 575 Airline Road, Baileyville 454-3335 www.nookncrannyrestaurant.com trip~dvisor~ IDLE AFTER ONLY A WEEK OF FISHING is Grand Manan's scallop fleet, seen here in Seal Cove. (Arlene Benham photo) Island council ponders fire site cleanup by Arlene Benham At the January 15 Grand Manan village council meeting, Mayor Dennis Greene thanked village staff Alyssa Calder and Esme Zwicker for their work in organiz- ing the parade and New Year's Day levee and remarked that the 2018 budget plan- ning is nearing completion. Councillors discussed the Shorecrest Lodge site; the building was destroyed by a fire in June 2016, and the property is still covered with debris. It was owned by a company in Minto, and one of the own- ers has since been murdered. Greene asked, "Do we want to look into what right we have to go in and clean up the mess, put a lien on the property? We have another summer coming on, and it's not a nice thing to look at." Chief Administra- tive Officer Rob MacPherson had con- tacted provincial Department of the Environment (DOE) representatives but has not had recent replies. He said inspec- tion of the site "is on the provincial books, but we don't seem to get much action out of it," with legal issues to further "muddy the waters." The inspector who was to look at the Shorecrest site was unable to come because the ferry didn't run that day. Councillor Bonnie Morse pointed out that it has been running since then and no re- scheduling occurred. She said the DOE "have a responsibility they have not lived up to. I don't accept the fact that it's al- most a year [since the failed visit] and they haven't found time to come down and inspect." It was voted to give Mayor Greene direction to investigate what is re- quired to effect a cleanup. The village will seek legal counsel as well as attempting to work with the DOE, and Greene suggest- ed that motions from the council would carry more weight in any further proceed- ings. Bus service update Deputy Mayor Robert Moses presented statistics from the Rural Lynx bus pro- gram's recent quarterly meeting. There have been more arrivals to Grand Manan than departures. He said the ratio of "in- ternal fares" - within the district - to "ex- ternal fares" - Fredericton, Halifax and beyond - was about 60:40. Adult and stu- dent fares were the most purchased, with a few seniors and very few children and not much family usage yet. The secondary Dr. M. Murphy 6 Queen St. West St. Stephen, N.B. E3L-2J8 (506) 466-1388 Providing all vision care servic- es, including the dispensing of glasses and contact lenses. "community connector" line will be dis- continued January 25 until spring while they concentrate on boosting main line ridership. It had very little use and was running empty some days. Rural Lynx will still serve Blacks Harbour daily; reserva- tions must be made 24 hours in advance. Moses said Grand Manan was "well placed" for usage. Communities along the route are supporting the project with con- tributions averaging $1 per capita. Coun- cillors voted to make a $2,500 contribution as a line item in the 2018 budget, pending budget approval. Other business In other business, councillors voted to ask Bell Aliant representatives to come to Grand Manan to discuss current Internet service and future improvement with the planned NB Power cable. Following up on last month's discussion about disposal of old flares, Morse reported that Trans- port Canada sent excerpts from the Explo- sives Act, which state that flares should be returned for disposal to the place of pur- chase. Also, a bylaw updating the village's building code to 2015 standards had it.s third reading and was enacted. Recreation Director Chris Rayner re- ported that the arena is busy with many private rentals and the new billing and scheduling system has been a success. The Castalia playground equipment has ar- rived, and volunteers will be needed to put the pieces together in the spring. A walking program in the gym began at Christmas. After upgrades including paint- ing, rubber flooring and some new equip- ment, the fitness center is "really being used. It's the most people I've seen in there," said Rayner. He hopes they will be able to accommodate more in the future. To fund further improvements, adult and senior rates have been raised by $5 per month, the first increase since the center's opening. However, there is a couples' dis- count, a family plan and a special rate for emergency services personnel. There was some discussion about locks on the facility. The new system allows tracking of users, with key fobs that are activated while a membership is valid. More people are now paying to use the center. Rayner and councillors discussed the automatic door locking and the possi- bility of allowing people to come in earli- er or stay later. The center is currently open from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. There are options to adjust the locking times, and Rayner will investigate current cost esti- mates. Rayner is also looking for lifeguards for the coming summer. A course will be offered at the Garcelon Civic Center in St. Stephen, but more than the current three trainees will be needed to operate the pool. There was no RCMP report this month. The next regular council meeting is sched- uled for Monday, February 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the village office.