As Ms. Leslie knows, this is a question dear to my heart. Prior to working at the Ecology Action Centre, I worked in the commercial fishery for a number of years as a deckhand, so I've seen first-hand the effects of poor management, both on the environment and on people and the economy of southwest Nova Scotia. For example, at one time we had hundreds of handline fishermen. These are small-boat fishermen in southwest Nova Scotia, who basically fish like you and I do, with a bunch of hooks. When the fish are there, when there's biomass in the water, then this method of fishing can be highly effective and it produces a high-quality product.
Today, unfortunately, there are almost no handliners left in southwest Nova Scotia, or most of Atlantic Canada. To me, that's a real sadness and a real missed opportunity because I think there's a growing market for fish caught in this manner.
To answer your question, I think it's both. You have to do this work where you work with fishermen individually and try to use the markets to reward those fishermen who are fishing in a more sustainable manner. At the same time, and I think this is one of the great tragedies of fisheries policy in Canada, despite the collapse and the huge economic hit that this region took—40,000 jobs lost and never really recovered—we have not addressed the base causes of the fisheries collapse, which included technology.
The market, in the absence of strong federal policy, has been a problem for many years, not just the last 10. It's been a problem for the last 20 since the collapse in the early nineties. There has been no real, strong government response. I think what's happening is that the private sector is stepping up. We have the marine stewardship certification program, which has its pluses and minuses, but it's an attempt by large players and the WWF to help the consumer, guide the consumer, in purchasing sustainably caught seafood.
Perhaps I was a little long, but it's a passionate topic for me.