Madam Speaker, there is no longer a balance in our ecosystem. Strangely enough, long before we joined Canada, long before Canada became Canada, there were seal and cod fish all along the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Recorded history tells us that they were there as long ago as 500 years, but I suspect they were there tens of thousands of years before that.
We finally got the two hundred mile limit in 1997 and Canadian control and management. We have Ph.D.s in biology and in ecosystem science. We have all kinds of educated scientists. We have all kinds of people with masters degrees in business to manage the resource. We have all kinds of guardians and wildlife people to look after it. Why, after barely 25 or 30 years, do we have a system that is so totally mismanaged and out of control?
The problem now is that because it is so mismanaged and because we have so many seals and so few fish, we are going to lose. We have seen seven years of devastation in Atlantic Canada, particularly in Newfoundland. There has been an out-migration of 30,000 people in the last three years alone from a lot of towns like Trepassey. It used to have close to 2,000 people and it now has close to 800 people. We are losing our young people. We are losing our brains. A lot of it is because our fishery resources have been totally mismanaged.
Now we have another problem facing the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Government of Canada square in the face every day. We have six million or seven million seals. They are eating well over one million tonnes of food per year. As a result, the cod stocks are not coming back. The $3 billion invested by the Government of Canada to allow the resource to come back is going to be wasted.
All we are saying is that there has to be a balance. The Government of Canada now has enough scientific data and certainly enough evidence from all of our fishers and people living on our coast that it is really time to do something with the seal herd. Unless it is done, as the member says, the seals will eat themselves out of house and home. There will be a mass depopulation of seals by natural reasons. Everybody will be poorly served with respect to cod fish and seals, especially the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.