have been following our halibut fishing issue on the West Coast with interest. It is described as a dispute over the catch division between recreational sport fishers and commercial fishers. Perhaps there are actually, three categories of fishers?
I am a Canadian recreational sport fisherman, not a charter or commercial fisherman. I fish pretty much all year round, probably once per month in the winter and every weekend in the summer. I suspect there are probably more than 2,500 fishers around the greater Victoria area just like me.
As a recreational sport fisher, I own an 18-ft aluminium boat built in Sooke worth about $30,000. I spend $2,000/year on moorage and gas, $1,000/year on maintenance, $2,000/year on tackle, bait, fishing license, insurance, magazines, books, salmon enhancement, photos, first aid, snacks, food sealer, canning jars, boat shows, etc. I spend all this in the community.
In other words, my fishing experience costs me about $5,000/year after the capital costs.
I am a conservationist. I support salmon hatcheries, participate in the salmon head recovery program, follow regulations, attend local boat shows and support national efforts to preserve the stock, including the efforts of Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
My weekend hobby catches my family and friends about 300 – 400 lbs of fish per year.
Now if you do the math that is about $13/lb. I would be much better off financially if I fished at the local supermarket, however, the relaxation and outdoor experience is priceless to me, my father, children, and future grandchildren.
I do fish for halibut. I tried a few times last year yet, I was unlucky and caught none. Halibut I served in my house last year came from my other lucky sport fisher friends or the local supermarket, caught by a commercial fisherman.
I think that it is important to understand, that the people who are unhappy with the current regulation of one halibut/day and possession of two, in no way represent me, as they claim to represent “recreational fisherman.”
Most of these people speaking out are charter fishing operators. In a lot of ways they are actually commercial fishers too, who try to make their living from the fish.
I don’t fault them for their livelihood, however, as a recreational sport fisherman I personally don’t have a problem with what DFO has come up with as the one halibut per license per day.
I would be satisfied with one, maybe two per year, and release the rest for the next generation.