Site purpose: Give fishermen and fishing industry supporters a tool to lobby government and inform the public. Our intention is to address some of the issues affecting the industry, specifically the small boat sector, by providing a series of form letters. Participants will be able to add their own comments, name and address to these letters, and send them to an address list of government agencies, MPs and MLAs by clicking a button. Letters will be changed and updated to reflect the issues concerning the Fishing Fleet.
The fishing industry, specifically the small-boat component, is made up of small independent operators. Like small farmers, ranchers, contractors or truckers, these family businesses don’t have much influence on government policy. This industry, the life blood of the coast for more than 100 years, has been a soft target for groups trying to conserve salmon. Those who should have been our closes allies in fighting the endless habitat protection battles often found it easier to turn and lobby to chop another piece out of the fishing fleet. Two thirds of the boats are gone.
In Alaska, with stricter habitat protection and no farmed salmon, the fishing fleet is thriving.
It’s time to realize that removing the fishing fleet destroys the Canadian public’s link to this pristine wild food source. What is the value of a river full of salmon to a public that can’t access them? Most can only rarely vacation on the coast to watch bears eating spawning salmon. Fewer still can afford a stay at an expensive sports fishing lodge. If we deny the public access to salmon for food, what is their incentive to conserve fish? How do we resist the push to dam the rivers?
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“Monthly updates” are not always necessarily updated on a monthly basis, because being fishermen, we are out fishing sometimes!!! Or maybe fixing the boat or getting ready for Christmas, or just trying to have a life! However issues threatening the existence of the small boat fleet, and even the fish themselves continue to grind away, so for the month of February our first initiative is a letter that will appear as Petition Letter 3, and call for action to protect wild salmon and their migration routes from farmfish parasites, as well as calling for moving fish farms to closed containment immediately. This letter is a follow up to Alexandra Morton’s presentation on fish farm threats to wild salmon that took place before a full house crowd of 600 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Center Jan. 30. Seeing that crowd made me optimistic that this is one battle where the tide is turning. We are starting to win this one, and we owe Alexandra big time for her unceasing efforts.
In addition the fleet continues to come under fire from intrest groups such as Skeena Steelhead Alliance. To respond to their drive to remove you from the water, see letter 1.
Jan.27/11 This post is of intrest to most small boat fishermen, though not directly salmon related. It concerns a recreational lobby effort driven as usual by the lodge and charter operators who want to change the 88% commercial and 12% sport halibut sharing deal. Anyone who thinks getting a quota based on a dfo scheme is an air-tight deal, better pay attention to this one!
Fast forward to july 23,2012. The most pressing issue facing small boat fishermen at this date is the incomprehensible waste of sockeye salmon that could be harvested from a strong run bound up the Skeena River. This run is giving indications of exeeding 2.5 million. As recently as 2006 commercial fishermen would have harvested over 30% of a run this size. This rate of harvest has preserved the Skeena as a bountiful producer to the present. Under pressure from sports lodge owners, and lobby groups who do not understand the dangers of overspawning the river’s systems (see work of Dr. Karl Walters) DFO has cut commercial access to 21% on this years healthy run, of 2.5m. This is a needless and severe blow to to the fishing fleet that deprives the struggling Northern economy of hundred of thousands of dollars. To react to this situation go to letter 4.