Where: NORTHERN PENINSULA
Who: Dr. Barbara Neis, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts
What: Memorial Presents public forum
A 2014 Memorial Presents public forum hosted by the Harris Centre and the Community-University Research for Recovery Alliance (CURRA) funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, marked the launch of an in-depth policy paper and related policy booklet (read report) that make the strong case for the revitalization of the province’s fisheries and coastal communities that depend on them (www.curra.ca).
The policy paper, “Moving Forward: Building Economically, Socially and Ecologically Resilient Fisheries and Coastal Communities”, was the culmination of an intensive seven year, community-engaged, multidisciplinary research program, CURRA, led by Memorial Sociologist, Dr. Barbara Neis.
“There is a popular notion that our provincial fisheries and communities are broken, and we therefore need to fundamentally change the way we manage our fisheries. That’s simply not the case,” says Dr. Neis. “Our policy paper argues that building resilient fisheries and coastal communities for Newfoundland and Labrador’s future is one of the most important opportunities and challenges of our time. We have to change our mindset from downsizing to revitalizing our fisheries; from disinvestment to investment in their future. That means we have to make a similar change of direction in our policies.”
For the Memorial Presents event, Dr. Neis was joined by Craig Pollett, CEO of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, and Earle McCurdy, President of the Fish, Food, and Allied Workers, who provided responses from the perspective of municipalities and the people who work in the fishery. After the presentation, all three individuals participated in a panel discussion with the audience.
“The living resources of our ocean and the knowledge, culture, heritage, infrastructure and other capacities built up by generations of people who have worked in support of our fisheries and coastal communities are our greatest asset. They are resilient but vulnerable. We have to stop under-valuing them,” explained Dr. Neis.