“Is this still necessary?”

“As a ship’s hull attracts barnacles, so all processes attract complications and additions which add little value.”

— Edward de Bono “Simplicity

When it comes to looking after wild salmon — there is a desperate need for questioning and thinking — and asking whether certain practices, policies, complications, etc. are really necessary.

The Cohen Commission looking into the Fraser River sockeye population crash will be conducting a “policy review”:

The commission is currently developing the policy review process. As outlined in the commission’s Terms of Reference, the focus of the review will be any previous examinations, investigations or reports that the Commissioner deems relevant to the inquiry and the Government’s responses to those examinations, investigations and reports.

It’s a long list.

In just the last two decades alone there have been numerous inquiries, reviews, negotiations, provincial, federal and United States government bickering. Including the 1994 Fraser Inquiry that found major problems in Fisheries and Oceans Canada such as:

  • estimating salmon runs;
  • dysfunction at the senior management level;
  • understaffing at the field level; and
  • a lot of illegal fishing or catch unchecked.

As pointed out in previous posts, Fisheries and Oceans costs, budgets, and subsidies compared to actual benefits from commercial salmon fishing represents a significant net-loss. Historically in British Columbia, commercial salmon fishing has accounted for approximately 90% of the total salmon catch.

Edward de Bono (Simplicity):

That some way of doing things has survived over time does not mean that it is the best way or the simplest way. It may only mean that no one has yet tried to find a better way.

As part of his book Simplicity de Bono suggests a tree as a metaphor for looking at things.

The trunk of the tree is the basic supporting purpose. What is this all about? Why are we doing this? What do we hope to achieve? What is the intention? What is the core purpose?

Sometimes things grow in such a messy fashion that eventually it becomes impossible to tell what the real purpose is. It is said that the purpose of many bureaucracies is to continue in existence. It can happen that something set up for one purpose continues only because its purpose has become that of survival. This is a legitimate enough purpose (everyone seeks to survive) provided other people do not think there should be a different purpose.

“Many things are there simply because they were good yesterday — and the day before. There may have been a good reason for them at one time but that reason may long since have disappeared. A historical review means looking at the whole operation and also parts of it, and asking: ‘Is this still necessary?’ “

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *