Letter: Fishery could be lost

Buying back fishing licences could ruin young families

In an interview with CBC Radio, “On the Island,” the mayor of Ucluelet had every reason to be alarmed, and hopefully we will hear more concerned voices about this grave situation.

Buying back fishing licences is definitely not about conservation of fish stock, but Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) policy. It led to the total destruction of the traditional fishery, as we know it, on the East Coast in the 90’s and now they are doing the same here.

Why would DFO spend millions of dollars to lure small fishermen into handing back their licences for an attractive lump sum of money? It looks so harmless in the beginning, but the ultimate goal is to eliminate the hundreds of small fishermen in favour of big commercial fleets, which for DFO translates into less administration costs.

The consequences are disastrous: big trawlers with their destructive trawling equipment scraping the sea floor and hauling every living sea creature in with their huge nets, is akin to clear cutting in the forest. It destroys the food supply chain of marine life and the ecosystem as a whole.

Furthermore, by taking the livelihood away from families, the young ones leave to find jobs in other places, where the money is, and within a short period of time whole villages are abandoned. We had first hand experience of this happening in Newfoundland and Labrador.

I would urge everyone interested in preserving our precious West Coast fish stocks together with a conservation-conscious traditional fishery, its spectacular marine life and resulting tourism, to take a public stand opposing DFO policies before it is too late.

Gisela Kumar

Sooke