Time to take Canada to task

Date: May 31, 2006

At a DSCC event in Toronto hosted by the David Suzuki Foundation, key speakers Dr. David Suzuki and Dr. Ransom Meyers from Dalhousie University, referred to Canada’s position against a United Nations moratorium on high seas bottom trawling, as regressive.

David Suzuki said it is time for people to take the government to task. “A UN resolution to halt high seas bottom trawling is an opportunity to make significant changes to current fishing practices,” said Dr. Ransom Meyers, from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He highlighted the global demise of fish stocks, referring to Canada’s ‘stupid stance’ on bottom trawling. Canada has so far been reluctant to support a moratorium on the deep sea bottom trawling in international waters, even though its fishing industry is not active in high seas fisheries and in spite of the fact that Canadian Fisheries Minister, Loyola Hearn recently agreed on its destructive nature. In a meeting with Dr. Sylvia Earle in Ottawa on 30 May 2006, Hearn agreed with the renowned ocean explorer’s views on deep sea bottom trawling, saying “It does damage to the stocks and it does damage to the habitat.” The 300 or so participants in the Toronto event were invited to send letters to the Prime Minister and Minister of Fisheries asking the Canadian government to support a United Nations resolution for a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling this year. (1)

The Toronto event was attended by around 300 people, with many commenting that the 20 minute film ‘Can Our Oceans Sustain the Hunt’, shown at the meeting, struck an emotional chord with them. In the subsequent discussion hosted by Christine Cushing (Food Network TV show host), Suzuki and Meyers answered questions from the audience on the destructive nature of deep sea bottom trawling and why a moratorium on the practice in international waters is needed as a matter of urgency. Suzuki also offered advice to concerned consumers on how to choose sustainable seafood options – for the good of our oceans and ourselves. (2) “Sustainable seafood options do exist. And it’s up to all of us to ensure our fisheries are managed in away that maintains this incredible natural resource for the future,” Suzuki said. (2)

Notes:(1) Download letter (pdf) (2) State of the Catch, A Professional’s Guide to Sustainable Seafood, David Suzuki Foundation (pdf)

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