Sunday, September 13, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Friday, September 11, 2009

The Daily News content suddenly disappears from the web pages of the PG Citizen, leaving us to wait for the two day Internet embargo to end before links can be provided to local items of interest. So a synopsis if you will. (Update: The PG Citizen began posting the Rupert based items again on Monday morning)

Politicians apparently take note of the crisis in the fishery, more awareness for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and another remarkable cash total for fundraiser Jim Terrion, some of the items of interest from Friday's news cycle.

THEY'LL BE COMIN' ROUND THE MOUNTAIN IF THEY COME--Nathan Cullen shares word that a standing committee from parliament is planning on visits to both Prince Rupert and Vancouver soon, a first step in directing some pressure on Fisheries Minister Gail Shea to help in the recovery of disastrous fishing season. However, should there be a federal election in the offing, rumblings of which are rolling through Ottawa, then the trip and fisheries issues would suddenly take a back seat. (PG Citizen Link) (Daily News Archives story when available)

The Prince Rupert Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Committee marked the 10th anniversary of their awareness day with a public gathering at NWCC on Wednesday, Mayor Mussallem read a proclamation provide by FASD, outlining the importance of children as our most important resource and our responsibility to care, nurture and protect them. The public session was an opportunity for the organizers to provide more information and seek out the help of the community in spreading that message (PG Citizen Link) (Daily News Archives story when available)

$15,000 and counting for Jim Terrion, the former Prince Rupert resident has returned home for the annual Terry Fox Run and as in past years continues to astound local residents with his determination and fund raising ability. He currently is living in Prince George, most recently gaining employment at the PG Hospital, he took some vacation time to return home for the run. Over the last twenty years that Mr. Terrion has participated in the annual Terry Fox Run he has raised almost 500,000 dollars. On Sunday he and many other Rupert residents will be doing their part for the cause, the 30th Anniversary of the Canadian tradition. (Daily News Archives story when available)

The Sports section outlined the final event of the 2009 Northwest drag racing season a wet and rainy weekend in Terrace holding back the racing at the Terrace airport until Sunday morning. There also was a look at the Hockeyville schedule for this weekends events in Terrace.

Front page headline story,

MPs to visit Rupert on fishing issues: Cullen
By George T. Baker
Prince Rupert Daily News
Monday,September, 14 2009

According to Nathan Cullen, a parliamentary standing committee on fishing will visit both Prince Rupert and Vancouver very soon.

In his bi-weekly press teleconference, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MLA Nathan Cullen said he had confirmed with the Committee that there is willingness to visit this fall to find out what has happened to the fishing industry.

“We are looking at a potential meeting with DFO minister [Gail Shea] and folks in the fishing industry in the next few days to start to put pressure on the federal government to help recover the disastrous fishing season up here on the Northwest.”
It is the first sign of interest from any federal body on the political level in what has happened to B.C.’s salmon stock.

“We have a majority of members who are in agreement that a trip needs to be taken out to the West Coast - as quickly as possible and as much as the arrangements can be made,” said Cullen.

It could be as early as the next two weeks, but there is one not so small hitch that could stall these plans - a federal election.

“These are the choices that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and [Liberal leader] Michael Ignatieff are making right now,” explained Cullen.

“This is to find out where all the fish went and how to prepare the commercial fleet for the next stage - what kind of compensation is required and how to put a healthier fishing fleet out on the water,” said Cullen.

This isn’t the first trip taken by the committee to look at local fishing issues in 2009.

The committee travelled to the East Coast of Canada from March 29 to April 2 for a study of the current situation in the lobster fishery. In southwest Nova Scotia, lobster prices were at their lowest levels in 20 years during the opening month of the 2008-2009 fishing season. In 2008, lobster fishermen from Prince Edward Island received some of the lowest prices in decades.

Given that the DFO compensated lobster fishermen with a $30 million bail out after the trip, this could be positive news for commercial salmon fishermen here looking for similar compensation.

While the issues surrounding both industries differ, both are struggling. Once the committee had visited, they were able to come up with 11 recommendations for the DFO and Export Development Canada to put into action.

The top recommendation: That the Government of Canada explore in cooperation with the lobster industry all the options to provide the industry bridge financing or loan guarantees that they need to get through the current global economic and financial crisis. It wasn’t even that that the lobster fishery was closed or that the people were starving. This was because the prices were a little low,” said Cullen.

“The hypocrisy of them turning to fishermen on the West Coast that you are getting no money, you are getting nothing on the table... this is my job to make sure the committee and the minister come here, so that’s why we are pushing for these things to happen,” said the Skeena-Bulkey MLA.

Cullen also said that more has to be done to understand what happens out on the ocean.

“We in Canada do no marine observations at all. So, once the fish leave the river, we don’t look at them again until they come back into the river. It seems to me that with the technology we have these days that you can do a great deal of research on what’s happening to the fish once they reach the ocean,” believed Cullen.

This of course would take money, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

“If we can’t monitor this fish - if we can’t count them - then it’s impossible to manage them,” said Cullen.

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