Monday, January 12, 2015

Opening new NB Waters for Ice Fishing

My apologies.    I have some strong feelings when it comes to politics and how our governments are run, but I really do want to keep that seperate from this blog.   Up till now I think I have kept all content positive and non-political, but today I need to put one foot into the gutter.   Hopefully it won't happen again.

A little while ago, I had asked Neville Crabbe, a local CBC reporter, if he thought the topic of adding new waters to those we are allowed to fish in NB would be one worth looking into.   Neville took a look at my previous blog post on the topic and decided to do a story.   As such, today has been interesting to say the least with a fair amount of chatter on social media.

The CBC story is here.  With any story where the topic is important to me, I'm interested in reading the feedback comments.    While one poor soul apparently believes that NB'ers live year round in the ice shacks, the rest of the comments raised several viewpoints, all of which I respect, though I may not fully agree with.   Are the right ponds on the list, are the retention limits set correctly, and how to view invasive species that are already settled in our waters are all topics that have come up and are worth debating or exploring further.  

In politics, timing is everything, and I think it is too much of a concidence to think Mr. Crabbe's article was not the instigator behind this, but I finally just received an e-mail response from Fisheries and Oceans Canada on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea.    Note, I had sent my inquiry back on November 28th and only today, on the day of the CBC article do I get a response!

The e-mail that I received was basically a form letter telling absolutely nothing that we didn't know already.    Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) was given the request to look into this topic back in January of 2014 and this process is "complex, requiring public consultations and analysis of policy alternatives and their impacts before a proposed regulation can be finalized".     The letter goes on to say they will work with the Province of New Brunswick to move this foward but gives no timeline as to when we can expect the process to be completed.

My response to this letter is as follows:


Thank you for your reply.   With all due respect, your response did not provide any information that I was not already aware of.

I suspect the timing of the reply may be linked to the CBC story on the subject this morning.  It is unfortunate that acknowledgement of my inquiry comes only after media interest.  I understand that with the drastic cuts in funding and personnel experienced by DFO since the Harper government was first elected, these things take longer to complete.   My concern however is that the process may not get started in time for next year's ice fishing season.

Would you be able to say if there been any substantial movement on this file since being placed in DFO hands a full year ago, or would you be able to give any estimates as to how long the process may take?


I'm frustrated.    As taxpayers we deserve full, honest, and straightfoward answers to these questions.   Media attention should not be required to get so much as a politcally correct non-answer response.   If the honest answer to the question is "We haven't looked at it and we don't have the manpower to look at it", then that is the answer they should give.   At least then we would know to ask other questions to our MPs to address the root problems.

Oh, and if you are curious as to the mentioned drastic cuts in funding and personnel that Harper has laid onto DFO, just google "Harper cuts DFO".   You will find many articles that should really upset anyone who values our environment and believes that we need to ensure scientific expertise is put before political agendas when making environmental decisions.

OK, thats enough of the politics for today!     Thank you for bearing with me.

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