Nathan Cullen spoke at the 2018 DFO post season review on Dec. 7. (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

Annual post-season review in Prince Rupert informs DFO on how to manage 2019 fishing season

This year was tough for fishermen in northwest B.C., and while the stewards of the fishing industry hope that 2019 will bring improvements, they understand there are still many challenges to overcome.

“We’re hopeful that we won’t necessarily see the same kind of crisis-like conditions as this year, but we’re still looking at a grim situation for the coming year,” said Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) North Coast area director Colin Masson. “It might not be as bad as last year, but it’s still going to be difficult and these discussions are really important for moving forward.”

Masson presented at DFO’s annual post-season review on Dec. 6 and 7. The review is a gathering of all parties with a stake or interest in how key decisions were made regarding fish stock in the northwest over the past year.

Indigenous groups, technical committees from the Skeena Fishing Commission and commercial and recreational fishing representatives were all present at the review and had opportunities to ask questions about the 2018 season.

Masson said the sweeping fishing closures in the northwest were the primary topic of conversation over the review’s two days, and he received feedback on the topic. The feedback from these discussion will be compiled to help contribute to the planning process for 2019.

Nathan Cullen, MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley was present for the second day of the review. He said he had heard a lot of the same things from people in attendance, and felt there was a general understanding of the situation and a willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to improve it.

READ MORE: Salmon closures a devastating blow to North Coast business

“We need to restore abundance,” he said. “We need to get back to a place where we’re not fighting over a couple hundred fish here and there.”

Cullen said achieving that abundance would take a long, stable and committed effort as well as providing DFO with the resources to properly manage the fisheries.

“We need in-season, real time assessment of what’s happening in the fishery so that decisions are made quicker and more accurately,” he said, adding that when this capacity is not present, costly mistakes can be made.

Cullen also said that the industry’s next generation of fishermen face more barriers than their predecessors. Citing owner-operator licences as an example, Cullen said changes could be made in policy that would help to level the playing field.

“If you own a fishing licence, you should fish the fishing licence. That’s the reality on the East Coast, but DFO doesn’t have that policy on the West Coast,” he said. “That’s the thing, returning the benefits back to the communities who are the stewards of this resource.”

READ MORE: DFO contemplating sweeping North Coast salmon fishery closure



newsroom@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

DFO

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Haida GwaiIdol organizer says premiere may include special guest performance

Lineup includes musicians, dancer, comedian and more; One of the judges ‘may do a guest performance’

Rennell Sound road access to be closed over Labour Day weekend

Haida Gwaii Natural Resource District temporarily closing Rennell Road Aug. 31 to Sept. 7

Regional district requests review of Tlell, Tow Hill speed limits

Electoral Area Advisory Committee recommended request ‘to make sure everybody’s safe’

Haida Gwaii resident upcycles glass into ‘quarantini’ tumblers

Faye Laidlaw of Queen Charlotte making tumblers, candleholders to keep glass out of landfill

Power restored for more than 1,300 BC Hydro customers impacted by outage

Outages left hundreds of BC Hydro customers on Haida Gwaii without power on Aug. 9

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Funding to support early reclamation work at acid leaking B.C. mine

B.C. Government committing up to $1.575 million for Tulsequah Chief Mine site

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read