VANCOUVER, Feb. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - "Allocating fisheries resources based
on who can lobby the hardest is not in the best interests of the fish,"
said Pacific Halibut Management Association manager Chris Sporer
following Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield's decision to increase the
recreational sector's allocation of Pacific halibut by 25%.
Stable allocations between user groups are a fundamental tenet of sound
fisheries management. A stable allocation framework creates the proper
incentive for all participants to act responsibly and invest in
conservation and the long term health of the resource.
More than eight years ago, following a three year process that included
facilitation and the retention of an independent allocation advisor,
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) implemented a policy that allocated
the recreational sector 12% of the Canadian catch of Pacific halibut --
a share one third more than the sector's actual historical catch to
allow for "growth". Since its implementation, four separate federal
fisheries ministers have examined the facts and supported the halibut
DFO also made available a market mechanism that would permit the
transfer of additional allocation to the recreational fishery provided
increased catch reporting requirements were met. Lodge and charter
vessel interests instead lobbied politicians to re-allocate halibut
from the commercial to the recreational fishery so their businesses
Canada's Pacific commercial halibut fishery was the first BC fishery to
receive Marine Stewardship Council certification and NGOs refer to it
as one of the best monitored fisheries in the world. The fishery has
100% at-sea monitoring and dockside validation programs in place,
fishermen are fully accountable for all catch, both retained and
released, and every single halibut landed is tagged in the tail with a
unique serial number. In contrast, the recreational fishery is poorly
monitored and has overharvested in five of the last six years.
"Re-allocating fish from the well monitored fishery to a poorly
monitored one undermines conservation efforts and responsible fisheries
management," Sporer noted. This is particularly true given Canada is
in a period of low halibut abundance and scientifically-determined
catch limits remain low. Now more than ever is a time for caution.
"Canada, more than most countries, should know that political pressure
is no way to manage a fishery."
The Pacific Halibut Management Association is an organization
representing commercial halibut fishermen on Canada's Pacific coast.
SOURCE Pacific Halibut Management Association
For further information:
Contact: Chris Sporer, 604.523.1528; firstname.lastname@example.org