Halibut closure hurts coastal towns

Other Views

Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s decision to close the recreational halibut fishery on Sept.5 will impact tens of thousands of recreational anglers and hurt hundreds of local businesses, said Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan.

“This closure hurts residents of coastal communities who want to catch a fish or two, employees of the hundreds of small businesses who support and equip recreational anglers, and the hundreds of workers in the commercial halibut fishery whose jobs have disappeared as commercial quota holders continue to concentrate the catch onto fewer and fewer boats,” said Horgan. “I strongly urge the federal government to look at the impact this decision will have on coastal communities and create a new halibut allocation formula that is fair to recreational, commercial and First Nations fishers.”

Federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield closed the recreational halibut fishery in BC at midnight on Sept. 5 on the basis that B.C.’s 100,000 recreational halibut anglers have caught 12 per cent of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) allocated to Canada in 2011 by the International Pacific Halibut Commission. Canada has allocated 88 per cent  of the TAC to 436 commercial quota holders. As of Sept. 5, 40 per cent of Canada’s TAC of halibut remains unharvested.

“I’m quite certain that recreational anglers and the businesses that support them would endorse any closure aimed at conserving halibut stocks, but sadly this closure is designed to support the further privatization of Canada’s fisheries resources,” said Horgan. “This closure will make September a lot rougher for those who traditionally spend their time on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.”

MLA John Horgan

Juan de Fuca