The Sea Shepherd

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Expelling the Gospel According to Paul

Drivel from Paul from 06/12/2006

...This week Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn, a Member of Parliament from Newfoundland ,(that would be Newfoundland and Labrador) allocated 2300 tons of cod to commercial fishermen and authorized a food fishery of 2,500 pounds. Newfoundland residents will be allowed to catch just over a ton in total of cod without a license and are limited to 5 fish per person per day or 15 fish per boat per day. Of course, there is no way of controlling this take and it is ludicrous to believe that thousands of Newfoundlanders catching five fish a day will result in less than 2500 pounds of fish being taken.

...Of course, after this summer there will be 2400 tons fewer fish than now thanks to this token fishery opening that Loyola Hearn is offering to appease his constituents in Newfoundland.

Here is the point that Paul is avoiding or ignorant of: The fine folks of Nova Scotia have always been allowed to cod fish, no licenses and no season. The trial opening of the cod fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador was in response to what has been a great inequity in how the government of Canada treats the residents of Nova Scotia vs it’s sister province of Newfoundland and Labrador. A true conservationist would make that point that the Nova Scotian fishery must be restricted to match the same restrictions put on Newfoundland and Labrador fisherman. That is not Paul’s point though is it? He has again missed the boat on this one. Paul’s would not take a strong stance against Nova Scotia. He has said “I have relatives in every province of Canada except Newfoundland and for that I am grateful.”

“The fish are not being given time to recover,” said Captain Paul Watson. “It will take generations to undo the damage done by the greed of the commercial fishing industry and the incompetence of the Canadian government. It may not be possible to bring the cod back but these regular openings to make fishermen happy are not benefiting the species. We need to leave the cod alone for the next century and allow them to recover from the ruthless pogrom we have inflicted on them for the past few centuries.”

Paul has said in the previous news item that the fish are “not expected to recover” which is it, will they not recover or are they not being given time to recover – and here I thought he was omnipotent.

Back in 1993, the Sea Shepherd ship Cleveland Amory intervened against overfishing by foreign draggers on the Nose and the Tail of the Grand Banks. Although the campaign resulted in losses of over $35 million to illegal Spanish and Cuban drag trawlers, Captain Paul Watson was arrested for mischief for chasing the draggers away from the Banks. He was acquitted of the charges after a long and expensive trial in Newfoundland in 1995.

A photo of the Cleveland Amory is below. Ask yourself this: why did Paul abandon this globally important species back in the 1990s? When the Cod is still now in such great danger of extermination why is he no longer championing their cause?

To answer this I’ll give you some context. This was the early days of the Captain and his fledgling Sea Shepherd Society. Faced being kicked from the comfortable nest of Greenpeace that he claims to have co-founded even though other reports say he was simply in the same place at the same time as the true founders of that environmental group.

In these early days of SSCS Paul, still sore from the boot print on his ass decided to form his own group. He stepped back for the first time since that whale looked him in the eye and said to himself. What marine species needs my attention? Obviously the plight of the Northern Cod was short-listed and for a very brief time became his primary attention.

Why then did he abandon the plight of the cod? The truth is that the Cleveland Amory setting out to fight for the cod fish was a great money pit. Paul knew where his bread and butter must come from. Here is what he said at the time “...the seal is very easy to exploit as an image... the baby seal with tears coming out of its eyes. Baby seals are always crying because the salt tears keep their eyes from freezing; they are beautiful and because of that, coupled with the horror of the sealer hitting them over the head with a club, it is an image which just goes right to the heart of animal lovers all over North America”. He restructured his organization around the most reliable paycheque that he knew. The Harp Seals off Newfoundland and Labrador’s front. By now of course white coats were no longer hunted and there numbers where great and showing no signs of threat to the population. Doesn’t matter – Paul knew he could spin the right tale to get the money flowing again. He has done very little to aid pelagic species since. Token gestures like dropping a dozen or so "net rippers" in recent years - nothing more.

Sea Shepherd has called for a one hundred year moratorium on the taking of cod in the North Atlantic.

“It they have any chance for recovery,” said Captain Watson, “it will take at least a century to accomplish it. These are long-lived fish and the fisheries have slaughtered 96% of them all and now are not allowing the survivors to reach sexual maturity before assaulting them again. These fish should be left in peace and all cod fishing abolished at least until 2106.”

This is more armchair biology by this so-called conservationist. There were discussions recently about whether or not the Northern Cod should be placed on the endangered species list. There are established protocols and procedures to protect species at risk. Paul’s 100 year proclamation makes a great sound bite but has no merits in science. It is not only arbitrary it is the standard type of ludicrous hyperbole that we have come to expect from Paul.