Media has exposed the current mess halibut sports anglers find themselves in as a result of the grossly unfair Fisheries and Oceans give-a-way of 88 percent of the annual halibut allowable catch to 436 commercial fishermen. Sports fishing representatives have been fighting to change this flawed policy of DFO since 2003.
Information revealed that the Canadian allowable catch is set by the International Pacific Halibut Commission. It is then up to Canadian DFO officials to allocate the fish between the Commercial and Recreational sectors. And this is where the problem is – a flawed decision by DFO to GIFT (yes-free!) 88 percent of a public resource that belongs to ALL Canadians, to 436 commercial fishermen in perpetuity.
The commercial fishermen can sell or lease their quotas given by DFO. There are Individual Transferable Quotas for other species too. But this time they were giving away a public resource that had become increasingly popular with 100,000 recreational anglers that fish halibut.
Dylan Hardie, a writer, said that …”First Nations stand to lose their food fish.” That absolutely will NOT happen. First Nations have a special right that guarantees them, after conservation needs have been met, priority access to Canada’s fisheries resources. Right now, discussions between DFO and the fishing industry are taking place on privatizing crab and prawns.