Recreational halibut closure not popular

  • Sep. 7, 2011 6:00 a.m.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ decision to close down the recreational halibut fishery as of Sept. 5 isn’t going over well with islands fishermen, says the president of the Port Clements Rod and Gun Club. Ron Haralson said it seems unfair that commercial fishermen will be able to keep catching halibut until November, while recreational fishermen have to stop. It’s the earliest ever halibut closure for recreational fishermen. According to DFO, the closure was made for conservation reasons, because the fishery had achieved its catch limit. The recreational sector includes fishing lodges and charter boats as well as individual anglers, and Mr. Haralson said it doesn’t feel fair to lump these two very different groups together. Individual anglers can be islanders just trying to get a halibut to feed their families, while the fishing lodges attract a wealthy clientele who pay top dollar to fish. “It’s those of us who live here, right by the resource, that aren’t allowed to get it,” Mr. Haralson said. “We don’t see why however many people there are on the Charlottes who fish for halibut should get shut down.” The Port Clements Rod and Gun Club has written to the DFO protesting the early closure, but Mr. Haralson said he doesn’t expect much response.

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