Thursday, August 14, 2008

DFO Enforcement Summary 2007

We just came across the DFO Enforcement Summary for 2007 at

And, as usual, it provides some interesting views of where the DFO Conservation & Protection priorities lie. For example, in 2006 enforcement of the marine Commercial net fishery was 6th on their priority list accounting for just 3% of their overall effort. Meanwhile, recreational fishing in fresh and salt water was at number 3 and 4 on their priority list with a combined 23% of overall effort.
The Selective commercial fishery came in bottom of the list at number 11 in priority, with just 0 % of overall effort ( 3 patrols; 14 patrol hours; 3 vessels checked).

In 2007, the recreational fishery( saltwater and freshwater) was number 1 and 2 in priority with 39% of their overall effort. While the commercial salmon net fishery was down at number 5 with only 4% of overall enforcement effort. The commercial selective fishery was again bottom of the list with 1% of overall enforcement effort. 11 patrols were undertaken checking 45 boats.

The preamble to the Summary states "....2007 where increased priority was given to the recreational fisheries both tidal and non-tidal, and specifically the Area 3-4 commercial salmon gillnet and seine fisheries." Well, the stats sure dont reflect that supposed priority do they? The stats make it look like the commercial industry gets off with very little enforcement. And the enforcement presence on the selective commercial fishery, which we presume is the selective gillnetting, is really embarrassing at 3 patrols in 2006 and a little better at 11 patrols in 2007. ( Please note, in 2006 there was alot of commmercial fishing while 2007 was a fairly low effort year.)

Obviously, the big discrepancy is the difference in effort on the recreational fishery versus the commercial fishery. Industry is very vocal about the 'free for all..out of control' recreational fishery and constantly lobbies for more enforcement on that sector.
Let's pause for a moment and think what causes more damage to fish stocks: a) an intense industrial scale commercial fishing industry with 300-400 highly efficient boats operating over 100 of kilometres of net length in a small geographic area...or b.) a few hundred sportfishermen with low catching efficiency rods and reels?????

This aspect of the DFO management scheme has terrible 'optics'. Not only does the commercial industry avoid close examination, they push to deflect enforcement effort onto other user groups. In the end, the priorities of DFO Enforcement look like they are directed by the commercial fishing industry. The culture of enforcement apathy towards the commercial industry continues....

Supposedly, enforcement presence is much higher and more intense in 2008....But, looked at in perspective, it wouldnt be hard to better than previous years efforts would it? Just compare sportfishing charges and warnings versus commercial fishing charges/warnings and you'll see the same discrepancies as in years past. Amazing how many charges for 'barbed hooks' in sportfishermen there are compared to infractions on commercial fishers. Fishery Officers dont seem reluctant to enforce the sportfishing regulations at all, but have some trepidation charging commercial fishers. The 'poor guy just trying to make a living' attitude appears to be all prevalent.
We'll try and post any 2008 enforcement stats when they become available.

No comments: