Fisheries minister in hot water

If federal Fisheries minister Gail Shea thought her February 15 announcement on halibut allocation for 2011 was an end to the matter for now, she quickly found out otherwise.

If federal Fisheries minister Gail Shea thought her February 15 announcement on halibut allocation for 2011 was an end to the matter for now, she quickly found out otherwise.

In her announcement, Shea pointed out the 88 per cent commercial, 12 per cent sport fishing allocation for halibut had been in place since 2003.

“Since then there have been a number of attempts by representatives of each sector to develop an acceptable way to transfer allocation between them,” she said.

“The most recent round of discussions took place throughout 2010.  I’m disappointed to report that those discussions have reached an impasse and stakeholders have been unable to reach a consensus, Because of this, a ministerial decision is required to move forward for the 2011 season.”

That decision was that the Pacific halibut recreational fishing season will open March 1 with a limit of one per day with two in possession.

Saying the government recognized the value of the recreational fishery to British Columbians and the economic opportunities it provided, she added, “Therefore, for the 2011 season only, we will undertake a trial to make available to interested recreational stakeholders experimental licenses that will allow them to lease quota from commercial harvesters. 

“This will provide access to halibut beyond the limits of the standard recreational license, giving those who choose to participate greater stability for business planning purposes.” 

Looking ahead, Shea said it was in the best interests of all sectors to come to a long-term solution, With that in mind she had asked her Parliamentary Secretary, Randy Kamp, MP for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission, to work with DFO officials to develop options prior to the start of the 2012 season.

The reaction from Kitimat’s Halibut Allocation Task Force chairman was explosive.

“As a Canadian I am totally disgusted with our government,” said Ron Wakita.

Saying the Conservative government needed to be held to account on this issue, he added, “We’ve got to make it clear was are as mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore.”

As for the proposal that recreational fishermen can exceed the 12 quota by leasing quota from commercial quota holders, “This is privatizing the resource,” he charged. “It’s absolutely wrong that the owners of the resource, the people, have to buy off one of these commercial allocation holders.”

Wakita reiterated the point he made in last week’s Sentinel, that the Task Force had no beef with the true commercial fishermen. What they opposed were the so-called “slipper skippers”, holders of quota who don’t even fish it, instead leasing it to commercial fishermen.

Wakita said he would like to see the quota taken away from those individuals and redistributed between the recreational fishery and those commercial fishermen who currently had to lease from the non-fishing quota holders.

He said the sport-recreational fishery had made it clear that they want to see the 2 a day, 4 in possession limits of 2003 “returned to the Canadian people.”

What that would translate to in terms of the percentage allocation for the recreational fishery, “that we leave the biologists to work out.”

(That’s a reference to the fact that while the sports/rec fishery allocation is expressed in a quantity of fish, the commercial fishery is expressed in tonnes of halibut. Based on their knowledge, the biologists would be able to make the conversion.)

Shea also came under fire from the First Nations Summit. In an open letter to the minister the FNS said they were “absolutely astounded” by her allocation of halibut to the commercial and sports sectors.

Saying the decision and rationale behind it defied Supreme Court of Canada decisions, the FNS said those decisions, “have been unequivocally clear that following only conservation, aboriginal fisheries is a priority over commercial and sport fishing interests.”

And that included all fisheries, including halibut.

“Yet, while First Nations are seeking agreements through good faith negotiations, your department is shamelessly dividing the spoils between the commercial and sports fishery interests.”

And the BC Wildlife Federation joined in, describing the decision as “an insult to all 38,000 BCWF members and one that ensured continuing confrontations between her officials and “those who really ‘own’ the resource…the public.”

Just Posted

Shoes are being left at the viewpoint on Haisla Blvd in response to the 215 bodies discovered at the Kamloops Residential School. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Haisla Nation responds to 215 Indigenous children found buried at the site of Kamloops Indian Residential School

“Many Haisla children were sent far away, to places such as Port Alberni, and to Coqualeetza”

Susan Jay hosted a plant and garage sale on May 25 and donated all of her proceeds to the Kitimat General Hospital Foundation to help with the purchase of a new bus for residents at Mountain View Lodge, Delta King and the new Kitimat Valley Housing Society dementia home. (Barbara Campbell photo)
KGHF thanks Susan Jay for her help to purchase a new bus for seniors in multi-level care

Susan donated all proceeds to KGHF, her efforts netted the hospital foundation a total of $1,760

An example of what a mural would look like on the back wall on Ron’s Bait and Tackle Store which faces the courtyard and sidewall. The mural photos shown here are mock-ups of existing artwork on walls of interest in the downtown core to build anticipation within the community about the concept of murals. The KPAA will not necessarily be using these locations or this artwork for the actual murals. (KPAA photo)
Kitimat Public Art Alliance mural funding request denied

D’Andrea suggested she will come back to the council at a later date with a more concrete plan

L-R: Vanessa Cuoto, Montana Murray, Connor Best, Dawn Best, Natalia Lopez, Thomas Walton, and Charlotte Collier partaking in the clean-up Kitimat campaign on May 28. (Katie Peacock photo)
Kitimat’s MStar Hotel brings out staff’s competitive clean-up side

The hotel staff circulated the Big Spruce Trailhead and picked up as much garbage as they could

Kitimat’s Water Quality Advisory, which has been in place for just over a week, has been lifted. (Black Press file photo)
Water Quality Advisory in Kitimat lifted

The district has been under a Water Quality Advisory since June 2

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus students Ethan Reid, from left, Brenden Higgins, Ty Oviatt, Kaleb Alphonse, Nathan Kendrick and Landon Brink with RCMP officers Const. Nicoll and Const. Stancec. (Photo submitted)
RCMP thank 6 teens for helping prevent forest fire in Williams Lake

The students came across fire in a wooded area and used the water they had to try and extinguish the flames

Most Read