Still ignoring the rules

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There was a report last week that a couple of foreign ships were found to have broken the rules controlling the catching of fish off our shores.

One had thousands of tonnes of illegal turbot and the other had taken too much cod when checked by Canadian officials.

It’s been quite a while since a report like that has surfaced. That means one of two things: either there isn’t much overfishing by foreign ships or not as many are being caught as there used to.

We suspect it’s the latter and just as much overfishing as ever is going on, but is undetected.

Over the decades, foreign captains showed little worry about how much fish they hauled aboard their craft, regardless of what the rules said.

They filled their holds as fast and full as they could and headed off back home to make a killing. Meanwhile, our own fishermen were under strict rules brought in to help rebuild stocks for the last couple of decades.

Our fishermen chaffed knowing they were allowed to catch and sell little of the resource while foreign fishermen broke the rules with abandon.

This latest report shows the unfair application of rules may still be the case and foreign fishermen still give no regard for rebuilding stocks.

No wonder it’s taken so long for the groundfish stocks to come back from the brink.

Worse than that, the ships caught will be tried by courts in their own countries, not in Canada.

That means they will likely pay little, if any, for thumbing their noses at the rules and putting fish stocks off our coasts at continuing risk.

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