DFO needs to make science a priority in decision making, geography prof says
Marine conservation expert says solutions are needed to avoid cycles of lows, highs in fisheries
Following the recent protests at DFO, a geography professor at Memorial University is speaking out.
Rodolphe Devillers, who specializes in marine conservation, says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans needs to make science more important in decision making.
"I'm very sympathetic for fishers. I understand that they're angry and they have to talk and DFO has to listen to them," he said.
"What I'm less sympathetic with is the organizations that are around the fisheries that are very strong at lobbying and that can pressure DFO to actually modify and increase the quota systematically despite the advice of science."
Devillers said if the scientific data states what is acceptable, the fishing industry will then push to make the quota higher.
Fishers also have to accept that every year is not going to be the same because the environment is changing and we have to adapt our practice with that.- Rodolphe Devillers
"Our oceans are very dynamic and the environment is changing and fishers also have to accept that every year is not going to be the same because the environment is changing and we have to adapt our practice with that," he said.
"We're trying to come up with solutions that ensure that we don't go through those cycles of high fisheries, low fisheries, high fisheries, low fisheries, but we have something that is healthy and sustainable full time for different fisheries."
While a long term solution is needed to ensure a healthy and sustainable ecosystem, fishers need to understand how dire the situation is in the short term, Devillers said.
"There has always been a disconnect, a very strong tension, between DFO and the fishers and the role of science and all that," he said.
"DFO has to work toward more sustainable solutions in the way they integrate science into their policy and the way they consider protecting the environment."
With files from Phillipe Grenier