Recreational halibut closure unfair to local operators

Oak Bay Marine Group spokesperson calls out Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Last month’s announcement of a shut-down of recreational fishing is terrible news for coastal communities.

Our company operates a number of businesses on the coast of British Columbia, including sports fishing resorts and marinas. Several of these businesses will be severely impacted by this closure. Our employees will soon be dealing with guests that are unable to fulfill their plans to fish halibut, guests that in many cases travelled from great distances, at great expense, to have that experience.

We’re also dealing with cancellations. We’ll no doubt be cutting back staffing levels accordingly, resulting in a ripple effect of lost economic activity for these communities where our employees live, work and spend money.

In difficult economic times, the results of DFO’s policy are completely contradictory to the government of Canada’s attempts to provide economic stimulus.

It’s quite simple. The recreational sector, based on its contribution to the economy of Canada, needs more than 12 per cent of the allowable catch. We are by no means advocating higher catch limits than what is prescribed at the beginning of each fishing season for halibut. We just need a bigger slice of the pie to stay in business.

Our friends in the commercial sector will also argue that they need to make a living. We wholeheartedly agree. Unfortunately, what has occurred by the protection of this halibut quota is that the quota holders are literally making hundreds of thousands of dollars selling their quota (which was acquired for free) every year. Less than one third of these quota holders actually fish. So in truth, DFO is really protecting big business and quota traders, not the livelihoods of commercial fishermen.

If things don’t change, how could we interpret a perpetuation of the existing halibut allocation policy to be anything other than DFO being influenced more by big business and quota traders than by the economic and social needs of thousands in coastal communities?

Then there’s DFO’s “experimental fishery,” which is essentially the recreational sector paying big business and quota traders for a right to catch some of their “gifted” halibut quota. Surely DFO can’t be serious?

Lanny Sawchuk

executive vice-president,

chief operations officer

Oak Bay Marine Group

Just Posted

Don’t let your guard down, fire chief says after two house fires in Willow Point

Two house fires in Willow Point have Campbell River’s fire chief reminding… Continue reading

Veteran hospice doctor credits Campbell River community for its thriving program

Dr. Deb Braithwaite spent 30 years working with Victoria Hospice Society

Cole Slaney leads the Campbell River Storm on and off the ice

“He’s always the last off the ice,” said Elizabeth Cudmore, the Campbell… Continue reading

Confusion in Campbell River on first day of cannabis legalization

Some users puzzled as dispensaries close just before pot becomes legal across Canada

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Prank pizzas delivered to B.C. mayor on election night

The fake orders happened throughout Victoria mayor’s re-election campaign

MLA to become Nanaimo’s next mayor, could weaken NDP’s grasp on power

Leonard Krog’s win will trigger a byelection when he gives up his provincial seat

Horvat nets OT winner as Canucks beat Bruins 2-1

Young Vancouver star had spirited scrap earlier in contest

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Most Read