Early halibut closure angers local guides

Devastating news for local halibut fishery

A charter boat waits on anchor for the big halibut.

A charter boat waits on anchor for the big halibut.

On September 5, recreational halibut fishers will be storing their rods and calling it a day.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has announced the closure of the halibut fishery on September 5 much to the dismay of some and the relief of others.

“The DFO has deemed that recreational fishermen have reached their quota,” said Mike Hicks, a charter fishing operator and strong advocate for halibut as a common property resource.

“It means a lot to a lot of people, charter boat operators, fishing lodges, “ said Hicks. “It’s absolute devastation in their industry. It’s not just missing a few days of fishing.”

What it translates to is a short halibut fishing season with cancelled reservations for charter boat operators all across Vancouver Island, and insecurity for next year.

“This is when the locals get a crack at halibut,” said Hicks. “The next two months are primo for Sooke.”

The reason the federal government has cut short the season is because they feel enough halibut have been caught by recreational fishers. In their system the commercial fishers gets 88 per cent of the quota with the remaining 12 per cent allocated to recreational fishers.

Fishing guide Steve Arnett says, “It sucks. What’s the reason for it? It is putting these guys out of business. When the commercial guys can keep fishing, it is hard on a place like Port Renfrew. They only have a four month window. It’s politics and that sucks.”

Hicks feels the coastal communities will be affected severely as they are dependent on fisheries so he will be trying to convince the mayors and councils along the coast to support a resolution he will be bringing forward at the UBCM conference.

In simple words, the resolution is that in years of low abundance the federal government should lease some of the quota from the commercial sector back to the Canadian recreational fishers to ensure fishermen have the basic bottom line access to one halibut per day, two in possession and ensure a 11 month season for fishing.

Hicks feels halibut should be treated as a common property resource, available to all. He feels our rights have been sold to private industry.

“They are going to privatize it just like on the East Coast, next it will  be crab and salmon,” Hicks said.

He said he is extremely disappointed in our federal representatives and they should be screaming.

“They don’t understand the issue, and it’s falling apart at the seams!”

He said he will keep on this issue until — “they tear the halibut rod from my cold, dead hands.”

On the pro side of the closure are the commercial halibut fishers who say the halibut stocks are the worst in 20 years and they are okay with the closure to recreational fishers. The commercial fishery will remain open until Nov. 18. In 2010, the wholesale halibut market in B.C. was valued at approx. $132 million.

Just Posted

Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

Scheduling popular summer events like the Canada Day celebrations is difficult due to the pandemic. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke summer events schedule clouded by COVID

Public health guidelines hamper plans

The District of Sooke is looking at new plans to build a fenced dog park at Ponds Park Corridor. (Pixabay.com)
Sooke seeks input on dog park

Public comment welcomed until June 4

Potatoes have two genetic centre of origins, one from the lowlands in Chile and the other from the highlands in Bolivia. The highlands potatoes flower and produce fruit profusely, which is where the seeds come from. They contribute to exciting and ecologically imporant genetic diversity of potatoes. (Submitted/Fiona Hamersley Chambers)
Metchosin farmer shares how to invent a new potato

Using seeds anyone can name their own variety

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

Tagen Marshall of Parksville is looking to raise funds for a new specialized van. (Submitted photo)
Wolf: Parksville’s Tagen Marshall inspires others, aims to invest in himself

VIU honour student with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy seeks help achieving big dreams

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident on Island nets almost 10-year sentence

Saanich man was arrested without incident north of Courtenay in 2018

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Most Read