British Columbia’s most representative seafood organization is cautiously optimistic about the broad recommendations of Professors Peter Pearse and Don McRae in the Joint Provincial Task Group on a Vision for Post-Treaty Fisheries released May 5. “We have long called for a new approach based on sustainable, profitable fisheries, one that provides equal security of access for all participants and consistent, integrated management that does not create unfair advantages for some businesses over others,” said Christina Burridge, executive director of the BC Seafood Alliance. “The Treaties and Transition report, for example, calls for all commercial fishing post treaty, to abide by the same rules of fishing, to have equal and long term security of access, and to make a strong commitment to integrated co-management that will benefit all participants, both First Nations and non-First Nations.”

In its 2001 Vision for a Modern Seafood Industry in BC, the Seafood Alliance identified the need for increased security of access as fundamental to both stewardship of the resource and to the economic health of the industry. BC’s capture fishery creates about 9,000 full time jobs and contributes about $870 million to the provincial economy with more than half the job benefits in rural coastal communities. That contribution depends on a sustainable resource and a responsive, progressive regulatory and policy environment. “Without those, we will not see the kind of long term investment that we need to meet domestic and international demand for high quality, safe, sustainable seafood products from BC,” Burridge said.

The task group was mandated to define a broad vision of the post-treaty fishery including how it will be shared between treaty and non-treaty participants, to achieve secure access for all participants, to harmonize management and fishing regimes, and to improve enforcement and meaningful consultation with stakeholders. “The report makes a lot of detailed specific recommendations that will need extensive discussion within the various segments of the industry. However, it goes a long way to identifying important principles such as seeking a formal Government commitment to compensating commercial fishermen to offset reallocations resulting from treaties. Our members look forward to entering into discussion with both levels of government, with First Nations and other industry participants on how to make it work.” Burridge said.

The Joint Task Group report is available online at http://www.prov.gov.bc.ca/tno/ and at

Click on the following links for information and Seafood Alliance member organizations position papers related to issues in the Task Group report:

BCSA Submission to the Task Group

Gulf Trollers Association – Quota Discussion Paper

Pacific Trollers Association - Some Thoughts on Troll Individual Transferable Quotas

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