Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

July 16, 2007 14:29 ET

One Fishery for All of Us: Canada's New Government Delivers on Promise to Integrate Pacific Commercial Fishery

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 16, 2007) - The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans today announced that Canada's New Government is fulfilling its commitment to establish one fishery for British Columbia and will provide $175 million to support environmentally and economically sustainable integrated Pacific commercial fisheries.

"Overcoming the challenges facing Pacific commercial fisheries requires all fishing sectors to rise above the discords that have existed in the past and begin working cooperatively," said Minister Hearn. "Unfortunately, some fisheries, like the commercial salmon fishery on the Fraser River, have been characterized by conflict and mistrust. Our new government committed to help reverse this direction. Measures announced today, along with a renewed determination from all sectors to work together, will allow us to make huge strides forward in establishing one fishery for the Province of B.C."

The new funds will be provided over five years, and will be used to establish enhanced catch monitoring and reporting in B.C. fisheries, strengthen enforcement efforts, and provide the basis for a new approach to trace fish from the time they are harvested in the commercial fishery until they are purchased by consumers. It will also allow the federal government to retire the licences and quota of fishers who want to leave the commercial fishery, and use these resources to facilitate greater participation in a wide range of commercial fisheries by First Nations throughout B.C.

"Last year Prime Minister Harper voiced our commitment to see First Nations become an integral part of the Pacific commercial fishery," added the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture. "Today's announcement propels us towards that vision. And I am pleased to add that this was not a 'made in Ottawa' solution. Consultations took place here in British Columbia, with both First Nations and commercial fishing stakeholders. Without their participation, we would not be here with this plan today."

A key component of effective Pacific integrated commercial fisheries is to increase the involvement of fishers in the management of the fisheries, and to move toward clear harvest sharing arrangements for the salmon fishery. The long-term goal is for all participants in the commercial fishery to manage their respective shares cooperatively, in ways that ensure fairness, the conservation of the resource, the sustainability of the fishery and a stable economic return for all participants, while taking into account the need to provide access for First Nations fishing for food, social and ceremonial purposes, and recreational harvesters.

"It sets the stage for fully integrated commercial fisheries in B.C., so that all participants operate with similar rules - and for everyone to work cooperatively to achieve a fishery that holds conservation above all other priorities," concluded Minister Hearn. "It supports the long-term sustainability of British Columbia's fisheries, which is ultimately the most fundamental building block for the future of this industry in B.C."

BACKGROUNDER

ONE FISHERY FOR ALL OF US

Achieving a fair, sustainable, integrated commercial fishery on Canada's west coast, in which all commercial participants fish under common and transparent rules, is an important priority of Canada's New Government.

Consultations by Fisheries and Oceans Canada indicate a general consensus among Pacific commercial fishery participants on:

- the need for change;

- the desire to achieve sustainable fisheries;

- greater certainty around access and allocations;

- the need for improved economic performance and improved relationships.

Addressing First Nations interests in increasing their participation in commercial fisheries, implementing enhanced monitoring and reporting measures, and strengthening collaboration among fishing groups to maximize benefits of sustainable fisheries are all important pillars to achieving these changes.

By taking tangible steps toward integrated commercial fisheries, DFO will support the implementation of urgently needed reforms to a number of west coast commercial fisheries, like the Pacific salmon fishery. This announcement is a significant investment towards making progress on key issues identified by industry as critical to their long-term viability, including steps to implement the recently announced "Ocean to Plate" approach for commercial fisheries and aquaculture.

The new funding of $175 million over a five-year period will provide for:

- First Nations' participation in integrated commercial fisheries across B.C. through voluntary commercial licence retirement (including vessels, quota and gear) and capacity building to support development of First Nation fisheries enterprises based on best practices;

- A co-management model allowing involvement for all resource users, facilitating collaborative fisheries management decision-making;

- Enhanced accountability measures to strengthen fisheries monitoring, catch reporting and enforcement, including the development of a new traceability system which will improve Canada's position in global seafood markets.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is working with commercial fishers and First Nations to achieve a future in which the fishery is more economically viable, and provides sustainable livelihoods for all participants. The Department will consult with stakeholders to decide how the initiative will be implemented. It is anticipated that further details will be announced in late 2007 or early 2008.

http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Office of the Minister
    Steve Outhouse
    Director of Communications
    613-992-3474
    or
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Terry Davis
    Regional Director, Communications, Pacific Region
    604-666-3855