Wednesday, January 10, 2018

UFAWU identifies range of problems to be addressed for British Columbia Fishery

Coming out of the December convention held in Prince Rupert, UFAWU-Unifor has put the focus for 2018 on a number of concerns expressed by the membership at the Prince Rupert sessions, with the labour organization putting them forward for public review and seeking the input of North Coast residents on potential solutions.

As a follow up to the convention which elected Joy Thorkelson to the post of President for UFAWU/Unifor, the union has been making use of a blog in the union publication The Fisherman to provide some background on the key areas of concern for those working in the fishing industry,

Among the issues that local fish workers and their counterparts along the coast have highlighted are:

Low Prices - Return to Active Fishermen is down

Corporate - Control over Our Resources

Capacity - to deal with different policy forums

Lack of Resources

Restrictions to areas/Single fishery licences

Other User Groups dictating how our fisheries are prosecuted

Compliance rates - Different rules for different fisheries: DFO changes regarding monitoring/compliance/traceability

Public is not educated on fish matters - economic, social and biological -- How to counter misinformation

Difficulty to work together with other sectors when we are always under attack

Enforcement of regulations - Habitat/Threat Control

All Fisheries need better resource management

DFO is negotiating treaty provisions with some First Nations and is not allowing the Commercial Fleet to fish during the negotiations

First Nations and Commercial Fish Harvesters need to work together to benefit all commercial fisheries

Fishermen are not united -  There are Few strong Fish Harvester ogranizations

Active Fishermen are not represented. Investors are represented who may have different goals than active fishermen

Licences and quotas are increasingly being owned by foreign corporations

Young people are not seeing fishing as a career, retiring fishermen cannot sell licenses/quotas at a reasonable return

Commercial Fishermen need access to more fish

The Problem/Solutions project is available for local workers and interested observers through The Fishermen, it provides the forum for those in the fishing industry to weigh in, with a number of potentials solutions for some of the issues listed above already listed.

You can review the full project and make your contribution to it here.

The issue of the North Coast fishery was one of the feature items for Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen's year end notes for local TV station CFTK.

The MP noted that there is a need for fishery reform in Canada, with some of the measures he is looking towards could offer some relief for the struggling sector on the North Coast.

You can explore some of his concerns and commentary on the issues here.

For more items related to the fishery on the North Coast and beyond, see our archive page here.


  1. The site is called (
    It is open for all fishermen to comment on, add solutions and more issues and more ideas. If fishermen do not take hold of fishing policy, then we will take out what others dish out.
    Joy UFAWU-Unifor

  2. Posted since Jan 10th, and I'm the first to comment? Think that speaks volumes as to how effective a union they are. Secondly - the fishers post of the Union name, can't even join you. Lastly, how dare you comment as if you represent anyone on a vessel. Guess you need to raise membership

  3. Hi anonymous - The UFAWU-Unifor still has more dues paying fishermen members than any other fishermen's association or group in BC. At least we are trying to get fishermen to engage with each other on what things need to be changed in fisheries policy to make things better. Some fishermen are fine with everything, however many have ideas on how to change policy so more money goes into active Fisherman's pockets. That is what this is about. Not whether I can run a boat.. I hope you can say what you think the problems are and suggest some solutions.
    Do you think owner operator would work in BC? What do you think would have to be some rules on how to make it fair??