Statement made on 16 June 2009 by Senator William Rompkey (retired)
Hon. Bill Rompkey:
Honourable senators, I move:
That the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, entitled Nunavut Marine Fisheries: Quotas and Harbours, tabled in the Senate on June 4, 2009, be adopted and that, pursuant to rule 131(2), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the government, with the Minister of Fisheries being identified as minister responsible for responding to the report.
Honourable senators, the main recommendations in this report are related to infrastructure and quota. There are two zones off Nunavut, 0A and 0B. In 0A, the people of Nunavut who are contiguous to that zone get all of the quota. However, in the zone to the south, which is 0B, they get about 20 per cent of the quota. We feel this is unfair to the people there. Additionally, it is in contradiction of policy followed elsewhere where people adjacent to the resource receive the primary share of the quota.
Therefore, we believe the quotas off Nunavut should be revised and that the people who live in Nunavut, and the fishers who prosecute that fishery, should get the lion's share of that quota, particularly if there will be increases.
The second important point is with regard to infrastructure. We were struck by the absence of harbour facilities in Nunavut. Those of us from the Atlantic are used to having wharves and breakwaters in all of our communities. We found none in Nunavut. I suspect that when Senator Comeau was there earlier he found the same thing.
Our recommendation is that a program be put in place to construct harbour facilities such as wharves and breakwaters. Otherwise, there is no way value can be added to the catch. The catch is essentially offshore. Offshore ships provide some royalties and some jobs, but they do not provide the maximum benefit to the people who live on the shore.
There was a joint Nunavut-Canada report in 2005 or 2006, as a matter of fact. It recommended that seven harbours be constructed in Nunavut. So far, only one, in Pangnirtung, has been advanced and has obtained funds. I am not sure that the construction is going ahead even now.
It is very important that a special program be instituted because there is no money in the Small Craft Harbours budget to begin construction of those wharves and breakwaters in Nunavut and various communities of Nunavut so the people who live on shore can reap the primary benefit from the resources off their shore.