Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Redfish Fishing: “It’s History Repeating Itself”

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Feb7,2024

Redfish fishing: “It’s history repeating itself”” /></p>
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<p class=Le Madelinot André Bourgeois (Archive photo)

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The fisherman André Bourgeois has very well known fishing for redfish, commonly called “goldfish”, since the 1980s until the moratorium which then banned it. Today, the Madelinot has difficulty explaining that offshore fishing, which it considers “destructive”, is favored to revive the redfish industry.

After having been captain of a Magdalen flotilla then a shrimp fisherman in Labrador, André Bourgeois was captain of the Lady Shippagan, a 127-foot offshore boat with a trawl, which was used to fish for cod and redfish for a company in Caraquet, New Brunswick.

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The Lady Shippagan was used for redfish fishing for several years. (File photo)

I was captain from 1983 or 1984 until the moratorium, he says. The redfish moratorium was declared by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in 1995.

The business model was different at the time – the redfish factories transformation, rather than the fishermen themselves, owned the fishing licenses – the imposition of a moratorium hurt the fleets that fished for this fish.

We came up with nothing, admits André Bourgeois. We weren't even recognized as professional captains, even though it was us who brought in the five or six million pounds of goldfish per year and six or seven million pounds of cod also in the winter, he said. .

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In the 1980s, fishermen brought in large quantities of redfish, particularly from the docks of the Acadian Peninsula. (File photo)

Mr. Bourgeois also deplores the losses that were occurring at the time, given the large quantities of fish caught.

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Of course, with big fish trips, which sometimes spend a week on board, there was a lot of loss… A lot of small fish, a lot of fisheries, a lot of loss, he laments.

I'm not afraid to say it: I destroyed the cod. The red [fish] is the same thing: we destroyed it completely. […] That's what I have trouble understanding: why are we going to do the same thing again?

A quote from André Bourgeois

At the end of January, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Diane Lebouthillier, announced the reopening of commercial redfish fishing in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The lion's share of the quota to fish for this species in 2024 goes to large offshore vessels, which will benefit from 58.69% of the 25,000 tonne quota granted by DFO.

André Bourgeois admits that he was surprised by this allocation to large boats, which, according to him, largely contributed to overfishing at the time.

It took us 30 years to regenerate the seabed, but now, the big boats that are going to dredge the bottom, we are going to rescrape everything.the bottom within four or five years. It's history repeating itself, he said.

He seems like we're not learning. It’s the same damn thing coming again. It’s annoying! I am convinced that Gaspésiens must think like me.

A quote from André Bourgeois

The Gulf of St. Lawrence has very few, if any, offshore boats over 100 feet, according to Bourgeois. He says he does not understand this decision by the DFO, which he considers to be an unexpected change of course.

[Minister] Lebouthillier came to the Islands de-la-Madeleine and she told me that it would be over, the mistakes of the past, and that she no longer wanted "lounge captains" who, like me, fished for companies. It was like that for five or six months, but at the last [minute], it changed everything, he says.

I think we've been given a hard time in Quebec and Eastern Canada, because there, it's going to go to the companies, says the former redfish and Madelinot cod fisherman.

A former fisherman fears the return of “destructive” fishing. BROADCAST HERE FIRST. At the heart of the world.

Former fisherman fears return of “destructive” fishing

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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