[Ucluelet] Halibut fishery topic of community meeting Thursday

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by Sushihunter, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. Sushihunter

    Sushihunter Active Member


    Halibut fishery topic of community meeting Thursday
    Julia PrinselaarWesterly News

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    The BC Sportfishing Coalition will be holding a town hall meeting in Ucluelet on Thursday evening to discuss the future of the recreational halibut fishery and voice concerns over the Department of Fishes and Oceans (DFO) policy and the season's potential closure.

    "It's just criminal," said Brian Clarkson, general manager of Canadian Princess Fishing Resort, one of 18 license holders in town that charters sports fishing. He said the season could close as early as mid-July if the fishing quotas are reached by then, just as halibut stocks reach their peak. This would be the third time in recent years that the season closes early.

    But even more of a concern to Jay Mohl, former chairman to the Sport Fish Advisory Committee and owner of Jay's Clayoquot Ventures, is the government process that was created in 2003, when DFO allocated 88 per cent of Canadian halibut stocks to commercial licensees. With just 12 per cent left to recreational fishermen, once the sport fishing sector has reached its allocation, they'll have to shut down.

    The Department of Fisheries and Oceans was unavailable for comment as of Tuesday. "Their system is not working, they admit it doesn't work," said Mohl. He said the problem lies with the fact the market has turned halibut into a commodity instead of a fish that is uncaught. And since most commercial fishing licensees don't catch their 88 per cent quota, they can sell their remaining quota to recreational fishermen.

    But buying quota costs recreational fishermen money and hardly attracts tourists willing to pay the cost of inflation. "For small commercial [halibut] fishermen, 75 per cent of their cost is to buy quota," said Murphy's Sport Fishing owner Marilyn Murphy in a report from the Nanaimo Daily News.

    "[Recreational] fishermen are held hostage to their own industry," said Mohl. "Instead of it being a livelihood it's a game of commodity and price."

    The BC Sportfishing Coalition will hold the meeting this Thursday, January 6 at Ucluelet's Seaplane Base Rec Hall at 7pm.


    © Westerly News 2010

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