VANCOUVER, Feb. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - "Playing politics with fishery
allocations undermines resource sustainability and responsible
management," said BC Seafood Alliance executive director Christina
Burridge following Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield's decision to give
the recreational sector an additional 3 per cent of the Canadian catch
of Pacific halibut. "Competing interest groups lobbying the
politicians for more access to the resource is bad for the fish and the
people of Canada."
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) after several years of facilitation
and independent advice implemented a policy in 2003 allocating the
recreational sector 12% of the Canadian catch, one third above their
actual historical catch. DFO also provided a market mechanism to
transfer allocation between the two sectors. "Instead of using this
mechanism," Burridge noted, "the recreational sector lobbied
politicians to reallocate fish from the fully monitored and accountable
commercial users to a poorly monitored and seemingly uncontrolled
According to Burridge, Minister Ashfield and DFO staff have repeatedly
made the case that Canada's commercial fisheries need stability,
predictability and transparency in order to compete and provide
consumers with a sustainable, consistent and quality product. "This
decision flies in the face of those principles and sends the message
that whoever gets the most people to public meetings, makes the most
noise in the media, and threatens politicians with losing their seats
will get what they want time and time again," she said.
Stable allocation frameworks are the bedrock of good fisheries
management, Burridge noted, giving commercial fishermen the incentive
to invest in conservation and the future of the resource. "This is why
the Marine Stewardship Council and NGOs believe Pacific halibut is one
of the best managed fisheries in the world."
Earlier this month, the Royal Society of Canada's expert panel on marine
biodiversity called for reducing the Minister's absolute discretion to
manage fisheries. "The Minister's decision demonstrates exactly why
this needs to happen," she said. "Fisheries management should be based
on principles, policy and proper process, not politics."
The BC Seafood Alliance is an umbrella organization whose members
account for about 90 per cent of commercially harvested seafood in BC
with a mandate to encourage sustainable, profitable fisheries.
SOURCE BC Seafood Alliance
For further information:
Contact: Christina Burridge, 604.377.9213; firstname.lastname@example.org