Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Fishery Reform

Reading the passage copied below you would be forgiven for thinking it comes from some NCSA critique of the fishery. Surprisingly, this passage comes from the BC Seafood Alliance, a large commercial fishing industry lobby group, in a paper presenting their ideas on fishery reform.

Overall the BC Seafood Alliance pushes for more 'ownership' of the resource via 'allocations' and 'shares', which is problematic but it's easy to agree with their description of BC salmon fisheries. If industry is also requesting systemic change then why does DFO continue to drag its feet in implementation, especially on the north coast.

The issues weve highlighted in red could have been written by the NCSA...as these are all the same issues weve been criticising for years.

Over the last 15 years, most commercial fisheries (halibut, sablefish, roe herring, groundfish trawl and the dive fisheries) have moved to a reformed management system that assigns participants a share of the catch and reduces competitive fishing, leaving fishermen free to focus not on how to catch more but on how to improve the value of what they catch. It’s a system that has consistently improved both conservation and economic performance. These fisheries have the following hallmarks of success:
-public and market confidence that the fishery is sustainable
-ability to deliver economic and social benefits
-participants who are self-reliant and able to adjust to changes in stock levels and markets
-participants who are accountable and are involved in decision-making
-participants who pay all or a significant amount of the cost of management of the resource
-improved relationships between participants and the management agency

The BC salmon fishery shows none of these characteristics. On the contrary it is characterized by:
-endless allocation conflict and competition for the catch
-politicized decision-making
-too many participants
-low economic viability and a bleak economic future
-increasingly complex conservation challenges
-complete lack of public confidence in the management of the resource
-high management costs
-inability to fund research and management
-subsidization of participants through EI and periodic costly bailouts
-harvesting practices that are unresponsive to markets and decrease value

The outcome of all this is that the economic value of what should be a lucrative public resource, one that merits its status as a cultural icon, is dissipated. Industry makes little money, management and other costs are unsustainable and conservation is jeopardized.

We couldnt have said it better ourselves.

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