Time to reform halibut fishery, says candidate

  • Apr. 15, 2011 8:00 p.m.

DFO’s halibut quota system is privatizing a public resource and hurting B.C.’s coastal economy, according to NDP candidate Nathan Cullen.”We are seeing the valuable halibut fishery privatized and Canadian fishermen of all kinds are being shut out. Both commercial and sport fishermen are losing opportunities to access a public resource, in large part due to this Conservative government’s policy of neglect,” said Mr. Cullen.Halibut quotas are being bought by private interests from outside the region and country and leased back to active commercial and recreational fishermen. Almost every pound of halibut caught commercially now has such a lease fee attached.Mr. Cullen said the quota system must be reformed so that more benefits go to active fishermen.”One solution being proposed would see DFO take back quota from non-active quota holders and reallocate it to the active commercial and recreational sectors,” he said. “This will give fishermen greater access to the resource, and ensure that more value stays with the people who catch the fish.”There are 436 commercial halibut license holders in BC, with less than half actively fishing their quotas.”The recreational sector has been raising these issues for seven years, and they feel their concerns have been ignored by this Conservative government, which has sat on the sidelines instead of being proactive,” said Mr. Cullen. “The Harper government refuses to tell Canadians who owns our country’s fish.”

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