2006 Annual General Meeting
At the end of 2005 I breathed a sigh of relief as the application process drew to a close and we managed, by the skin of our teeth, to stave off additional (and unreasonable) effort curtailment. All that was left to do was to await the final allocation, and, hopefully, enjoy a period of relatively smooth sailing ahead.
The actual allocation was finally announced towards the end of February. At about 2300hrs on the night of Friday the 17th of February I received the list of successful applicants for the squid sector for circulation to the industry. That was the start of the longest night of my life. My name was not on the list. As it turned out it was a technical gremlin as the last names at the end of each page were dropped when the files were converted to PDF format. I now know how the guys that were unsuccessful felt and it's not for sissies. While I felt sympathy for those that were left out, I felt that overall it was a pretty good allocation and consistent with the stated policies.
A number of unsuccessful applicants made successful urgent applications to the minister and the balance were granted rights in the normal appeal process. I congratulate and wish them well, but here's what I don't understand:
- Why were appellants given more effort than they had before and in some cases even more than they applied for?
- Why were old vessels re-admitted to the sector after assurances were given by the delegated authority himself that this would not be allowed?
- Why was the agreed minimum viable effort per length category contravened?
- Why was the effort in the industry recklessly and needlessly increased in this manner?
Legal opinion has it that the proposed reduction of some people's rights for re-distribution to others is not lawful. Let's hope that this matter can be settled without too much disruption so that we, as an industry, can all move on.
Proposed Effort Reduction
I would like to read this extract from last years report: "Once again we are plagued by the dreaded mathematical model and there are proposals afoot which threaten every aspect of the industry. Fortunately this proposal has received only limited support. One of the major problems that I have in accepting the results of this particular mathematical model is the known unreliability of the input data." "It is too soon to tell what the final outcome will be but we should brace ourselves for a major challenge. This situation once again highlights the urgent need for the finalization of the management working group."
Same again this year but worse!
On the bright side however, I can report that the squid working group's recommendations will be forwarded to a "management working group" which will put its recommendation to the minister. This years SWG recommendations are likely to be particularly drastic.
As you all know, most vessels lost fishing time this year due to labour unrest. This is of course only of indirect concern to SASMIA. Then again, later in the year certain legislation regarding pre sea training was due to take effect. We, at committee level decided on a course of action, only to have this action vetoed by the EOCAF committee. The reason I mention this is that I believe that we must reconsider SASMIA's role in such matters. Perhaps all staff related matters, ie legislation, training, etc. should fall under the EOCAF portfolio. I propose that this be addressed by the incoming chairperson.
In conclusion, I thank the committee, in particular Moray, Gwen, Elijah, Greg and all the others who have assisted and supported me this year and in the years gone by. It has been a privilege to serve you over the last six years.
SASMIA is enjoying the support of the vast majority of the industry at present. I cannot over emphasize the importance of this. It is only through representative membership that we retain credibility with the department and other bodies and thus our ability to promote the interests of the industry. I wish my successor everything of the best and assure him/her/it of my support.