Sport Fishing Defense Alliance Letter To Premier
Ph. 250 378-4489
P.O. Box 326, Merritt, B.C. V1K 1B8
February 3, 2009
Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier
Province of British Columbia
I write to you today to bring to your attention a few key items regarding one of the most viable industries in this province. I speak here about the Recreational Fishing Industry. This industry in the tidal fisheries alone generates over $800 million annually into our economy, provides in excess of 4,500 jobs. When you add in the non-tidal fisheries we see a total of $1.4 billion in economic benefits and over 7,700 jobs. This fishery also generates $50 million a year in direct payments to the provincial government coffers.
This industry, as have others in this province, has faced some very difficult times. We have prospered and grown thanks in a good part to the advice and assistance we have been provided by your Marine Fisheries Branch of the Ministry of the Environment. Staff from that Branch has played a major role in helping to develop management plans that not only met conservation needs for our fish resource but enabled rational and profitable fisheries to operate. Their participation and input has been invaluable and has ensured our economic viability and jobs have been retained.
Our members however are hearing growing concerns that your government is planning to make major cutbacks to this Branch in the coming year. Mr. Premier, on behalf of our members I wish to advise you that any such a move would be very wrongheaded and would place our industry and the jobs it supports in serious jeopardy.
This Branch has also played a major positive role in the development of our commercial fisheries in this province and we have thousands of more jobs at risk in this area.
Mr. Premier, we would implore you not to reduce the ability of this Branch to operate in the upcoming year. We trust you will recognize that in addition to creating new jobs, we need to hang on to those we have. The staff of this Branch will help insure that those jobs remain in the fishing industry.
We would also take this occasion to remind you of your commitment in your 2008 New Years Eve television address where you promised there would be “no cuts in service”.
Yours in conservation:
Bill Otway, President
Cc Carol James
Nootka Marine Adventures
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