Over the weekend that focus continued as the online publication the Tyee turned a spot on their website over to a number of advocates for the North Coast Fishery. Providing for a wide ranging article outlining some background on one of the key issues for many on the North Coast, the ownership of the industry in British Columbia.
Among the five authors of the article titled You Thought We Canadians Controlled Our Fisheries? Think Again are some familiar names and two well known to the North Coast. With Joy Thorkelson, the northern representative for United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union and Henry Clifton a fisherman and president of Native Brotherhood of British Columbia among the contributors to the review of the ownership concerns related to the industry.
They along with Evelyn Pinkerton a professor of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, Kim Olsen a fisherman and president of United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union and Art Davidson a fisherman and president of B.C. Longline Fishermen's Association have delivered a look at some of the recent history of the fishery in British Columbia and some of the issues that have left many in the industry reeling in recent months.
Focusing largely on the issue of the Individual Transferable Quota system, the group traces what they believe it has done to the province's halibut fishery where they observe the bulk of the benefits now flow to "investors", "big processing companies" and "foreign corporations".
Noting that they fear that the same kind of impact will be delivered to the province's iconic salmon fishery.
|UFAWU Northern Rep|
Joy Thorkelson is one of five
authors of an item on the fishery
found on the Tyee website
Calling the process of the ITQ's as sharecropping of the seas, the review outlines the how they see the decline of a way of life that is currently the fate of the fishery in the province and how DFO plans to move forward with the quota system in the salmon fishery despite what they say is the opposition of 92 percent of the active salmon fishery in BC.
The key aspect of the ITQ plan would appear to be the prohibitive cost that is required for new entrants into the industry to gain access to them, leaving the industry increasingly under the control of the current small group of quota owners many who received them free during the early days of the program
The evolution of the quota system according to the authors appears to be something they believe has allowed for the migration of benefits and control to foreign owners.
It's another issue on the fishery that is clearly raising some alarms for those on the North Coast, similar in nature to some of the areas of concern that have been raised locally in the wake of the announced closure of the canning lines at the Canadian Fish plant in Prince Rupert.
Corporate concentration and licence considerations have featured prominently in much of the efforts in recent weeks from the UFAWU office on Fraser Street, the issue of transferable quotas moving into the salmon industry no doubt another issue that we will be hearing more about in the months to come.
You can read the full article from the Tyee website here.
For more items related to the Fishery in British Columbia see our archive page here.