|SKIPPERíS BLOG: The Many Faces of Fisheries
Okay, so where are we? Oh right.
Weíve been looking back at the ministers for the
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Newfoundland and Labrador since
We were motivated to do so when we realized the
current government, in power since 2003, has changed its fisheries ministers on
average more than any other government since Confederation. In fact, when the
current Minister Derrick Dalley eventually gets shuffled elsewhere (expect it
within 15 months if the current average holds) the current administration will
not just have had the most ministers on average, but also the most fisheries
Joey Smallwoodís government lasted 23 years and had five fisheries
ministers (a different minister every 4.6 years on average). The Frank
Moores/Brian Peckford government lasted 17 years and produced eight ministers (an
average of 2.1 years per minister). The Clyde Wells/Brian Tobin/Roger Grimes
administration lasted 14 years and put six ministers in place (an average of
2.3 years per minister). And the Danny Williams/Kathy Dunderdale government,
which has been in power for nine years, has produced seven fisheries ministers
(a new minister every 1.3 years on average).
So far we have looked at the time spent in Fisheries
by Trevor Taylor and Tom Rideout.
Today we move on to Tom Hedderson.
SFA and the MOU
If Tom Rideoutís colourful and wildly interesting term
as Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister was worth two blog entries, then the next
two ministers who held the job are really worth just one combined. But itís a
Monday so Iím splitting them up. Itís good to be the boss.
Tom Hedderson was the first in what has been a line of
school teachers appointed to the Fisheries job in recent years. Not that
thereís anything wrong with that Ė itís just an interesting parallel that
Hedderson, Clyde Jackman, Darin King and now Derrick Dalley are all teachers by
But we digress.
What can you say about Tom Hedderson?
No really. What CAN you say about Tom Hedderson?
How about, he seemed like a heckuva nice guy, but he
was hardly a dominant figure or a driver of change in the department. But at
least he didnít screw anything up completely.
Just after Hedderson was named to the job ó which
happened on Halloween in 2008 ó he showed up at a meeting FFAW Inshore Council
in St. Johnís with deputy minister Alistair OíReilly in tow. It was a brief
chat wherein he reaffirmed that he was a rookie with lots to learn, and
deferred any questions about department plans/position/policy to OíReilly.
After the meeting, one of the fishermen in the room
suggested it might be okay with Hedderson in charge.
ďHe doesnít know one damn thing about the fishery,
thatís for sure,Ē the fisherman quipped. ďBut maybe thatís better than some
cowboy who thinks heís got it all figured out. Weíll see I sípose.Ē
Whatever the case, the little over a year Hedderson
spent in the role was mostly uneventful, but it had its moments.
In January 2009 Hedderson threw out the idea of having
a seafood marketing council, and let the processing sector vote on it. They
voted against it, leaving Hedderson and the harvesting sector befuddled and
irritated. Whatever reasons each side had for their position, it is worth
noting that today, almost four years later, there is still no universal
province-wide seafood marketing campaign of any kind.
There were also a few salvos fired at the federal
government (a Williamsís government trademark for trying to win public support
in NL) over their perceived inaction with the World Trade Organization over
Europeís pending vote to ban seal products, and also in relation to federal
quotas for shrimp and seals.
And then in June 2009 Hedderson issued a snotty retort
(you can read that HERE)
to critics in the industry who were taking shots by suggesting government was
sitting on its hands when it came to fisheries issues and not paying due
attention to the file.
And just like that, in November 2009, Hedderson was
If Trevor Taylorís term as minister was all about RMS
and Tom Rideoutís revolved around FPI, then to continue the three letter theme,
Heddersonís time in charge really amounted to SFA.
And then along came Clyde Jackman.
The three letters that permeate his tenure?
How about the (Fishing Industry) MOU, which remains DOA.
We'll discuss that in our next entry.
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