Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 72 > Page 38 - Ghost Fishing: One Voice from the East Coast Groundfish Diaster

Page 38 - Ghost Fishing: One Voice from the East Coast Groundfish Diaster

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1997/6/1 (320 reads)

just going through them. All the big ones were being taken out. And then they went to 5 1/2 inch mesh and last year there were fishermen, even given the bad situation with the resource be? cause they were catching less and less fish, arguing to have that mesh reduced to 5 inch mesh. A five inch mesh gillnet can take anything from a 12 to 16 inch fish. And a 16 inch fish is only a three year old fish. And a fish that can reproduce has to be seven years old. It takes about a 20 up to a 25 inch Eber Williams fish to be a reproducer, and we've taken basically all those fish out of the system. Now we have probably millions of those gillnets left in the ocean around the coast line ghost fishing. Then you've got the technology in the middle distance vessels moving further afield using gillnets--even though these vessles were supposed to be developed using Scandinavian longline techniques, longline trawls, etc. The long- liners, the 45 to 64 footers, were being built for limited entry fisheries and for a small group of fishermen in our province. They were geared up with gillnets and, as they destroyed one thing, they went to something else. They have the technology, state of the art modern day satellite type tracking detection technology, that will find every blemish in the ocean. Wherever Gordie Gotell You Can Pack Everythini Into Our Weekender. And we don't mean just a suitcase! Avis has a full range of late model vehicles from sports sedans to minivans to help you get away for a great weekend, at Special Weekend Rates. At Avis, our "We try harder" service helps turn your weekend getaway into a memorable mini-holiday! Avis features GM cars. Chevrolet Lumina APV Call Today For Full Details and Reservations. Sydney-Glace Bay Hwy: (902) 564-8341 Sydney Airport: (902) 564-8265 ?? 1993 Aviscar Inc. AViS We try harder.* they find schools of fish, if there's any left, they're using gillnets. They can sink them down on the bottom regardless of rough bottom terrain. A dragger can't do that. That's why a gillnet becomes even more dan? gerous than a dragger. You can only use draggers in more or less smooth bottomed areas because, if they tear across those ledges springing up from the bottom, they would tear the drag nets to pieces and wouldn't take back anything, and their pro? ductivity would be very low. So they can't fish them in certain areas of the ocean, but you can put a gillnet down anywhere re? gardless of the underwater terrain and things like that. They's why they become most destructive. And the second reason why they become the most destructive is because fishermen, careless as they are, just dis? card them over and over again. It's cheaper to dump them overboard and go in and have new ones made than to repair them. The gov? ernment is talking about developing gillnet material that will break down, but they haven't done it yet. So they are out there, and they will be there for hundreds and hundreds of years. I guess with the tides and everything else swinging them back and forth for other reasons, they will eventu? ally break down, but it's going to be an awfully long while before they do deterio? rate to the point where they won't fish. The people who use them argue that they won't fish after they lose them on the bot? tom, but still and all, they fished while they were using them. So there you go. Our thanks to Penny Marshall, Director, University College of Cape Breton Press, for permission to offer this portion from Am? Narn! Faces and Voices of Atlantic insiiore Fishers. The book • approximately 120 pages, $19.95 • will be available In bookstores everywhere, or directly from UCCB Press, P. O. Box 5300, Sydney, NS B1P6L2. Suppliers of All Your Heating & Supplies P.O. Box 61. King St., North Sydney, N.S. B2A3M1 794-4773 Call Us for "FREE ESTIMATES" 38
Cape Breton's Magazine
  View this article in PDF format Print article

Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to the PDF version of this content. Click here to download and install the Acrobat plugin
Acrobat Reader Download