Halibut fishery a history of blood, sweat and tears.

This writer calls for regulation of the sport lodges halibut fishing and suggests the halibut quotas need a specific category designated as Sport Commercial added to the existing Commercial and Recreational categories.

Dear Editor,

Over the years, I have been reading one sided misinformation from writers who support money making commercial charter and lodge operations over the 88/12 split in the halibut industry. There are accusations of “Slipper Skippers” and a public resource being given to commercial fisherman for free.

Who are the biggest “Slipper Skippers?” Maybe it’s the owner of eight, 44ft commercial lodge charter boats packing 20-30 customers in Ukee Harbour? Maybe the owner of a fleet of 20 or so high-speed aluminum charter boats at Langara Lodge? Or maybe some lodges in-between? I am not too sure. I wonder how many pounds of halibut cross their docks, and how much money is made each year. I know it’s more then a lot of commercial fisherman own or earn.

First Nations people own a large portion (17%) of the commercial quota and licenses. The commercial fisherman have been fishing halibut for 100 years, long before any charter boats and lodges were ever thought of. The vast majority of commercial fisherman have been selling or purchasing their licenses since the DFO first issued them in 1979 (including myself), and licenses with quota attached since 1991 and licenses and/or quota since 1999. In 1991 each fisherman was allocated a quota based on his past catch history. They have earned it through years and years of blood, sweat and tears, and sometimes death in one of the toughest and most grueling fisheries in BC. Nobody got their halibut quota for free.

30 or so years ago commercial halibut licenses were capped at 435 vessels with length restrictions for conservation reasons. So answer these questions: Are there any restrictions on how many commercial sport lodges can be built? Are there any restrictions on how big a charter vessel can be? Or are there any restrictions on how big of a fleet of boats one lodge can operate? Also, how many people those vessel are able pack? I think most people know the answers. There are zero restrictions in the growing commercial sport industry.

To take halibut quota from the commercial and First Nations fisherman who have helped model one of the best run and most accountable fisheries in the world, and give it to a growing commercial sport industry with very little history, no caps, no charter vessel length restrictions, and no accountability for their by catch or actual numbers seems absolutely ludicrous! The commercial halibut fishermen are accountable for every pound of halibut and by-catch caught. BC commercial and First Nations fishermen have seen their allowable catch levels reduced by approximately 47% since 2007.

The commercial charter and lodge industry is growing out of control and needs some restrictions applied like all other industries in Canada. They can make it work. They need to come to the table and figure out a way to trade, rent or buy quota from the commercial and First Nations fishermen in years of low stock abundance. Instead of trying to take it through political lobbying and false accusations in news papers and emails.

The halibut industry should be separated into 3 categories: Commercial, Sport Commercial and Recreational.

Glen Johnston

Royston

Just Posted

Port Hardy Reigns compete in Nanaimo at Island Championships

“We are very fortunate to have this opportunity for our youth in Port Hardy”

Derina Harvey Band – Heartfelt, Energetic, Celtic rock comes to Port Hardy

Front-woman Derina Harvey leads this Celtic-rock act, who offer an authentic east-coast experience.

OPINION: Urgent care room will cost lives

“Seniors, of any demographic, are the most vulnerable to the loss of emergency care.”

James Hayward coroner’s inquest rescheduled hours away from where RCMP shooting occured

The family is “a bit disappointed that it’s going to be held in Campbell River”

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read