In the face of last week's study in the journal Science that forecast a 100% collapse of all commercial fisheries within 50 years, and in addition to Canada's continued refusal to sign a UN backed moratorium on bottom trawling fishing, Federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn placed the blame on declining stocks on, you guessed it, global warming.
"It's not just a matter of overfishing or the use of certain technologies," Mr. Hearn told reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons.
"The temperature in one of our stations, for instance, off St. John's, has increased by four and a half degrees. That has a tremendous effect."
The minister prefaced his remarks by saying he is no scientist.
That goes without saying. What he is, is a Tory hypocrite who, like the rest of his party, will use environmental issues in whatever way suits him in order to protect status quo industries.
The oceans are affected by global warming like other ecosystems. Nobody disputes this. However, it was exploitive overfishing and the destructive use of bottom trawling that previously led to the colossal collapse of Canada’s Atlantic cod fishing industry, and that now represent the most immediate threat on the world’s remaining stocks.
Bottom trawling is a destructive fishing practice where large nets weighted with chains are dragged across the seafloor to catch groundfish species like sole and cod. In addition to harvesting massive quantities of fish, the technique destroys ocean ecosystems needed for the replenishment and maintenance of stocks by scraping up coral and other seafloor life.
Even George Bush has figured this one out and has called on key Cabinet officials to work for an end to the destructive practice, while Canada continues in its refusal to sign the UN moratorium on bottom trawling.
What Minister Hearn fails to see is that between the continued use of trawling and the current rate of over harvesting, we will pull every fish from the water and destroy every inch sea floor habitat long before global warming can play primary role in the collapse of fish species.
Even so, environmentalists will gladly accept an about face on the recently released Conservative environment approach that utterly fails to address climate change.