DFO halibut policy democracy for the few

I continue to be absolutely astonished at Fisheries Minister Gail Shea’s refusal to alter the absurd allocation of the annual Canadian halibut catch between the commercial and recreational sectors (88 per cent commercial, 12 per cent recreational) given the vocal feedback she’s received from the recreational sector in recent months.  This re-affirmation of a fatally flawed policy will put businesses at risk that contribute heavily to the economy of B.C. The resorts our company operates will be amongst these. The facts show the minister’s policy really acts to protect the small (just over 400) group of halibut quota holders that were gifted halibut quota several years back. Many of these folks don’t fish anymore and make serious money selling their quota to hardworking fishermen who are squeezed in the middle.Despite strong halibut stocks and despite the thousands of people who recently expressed their wish to see DFO change its halibut allocation policy, the rights of quota holders have been upheld. It’s hardly a demonstration of democratic principles in action. Chalk one up for the lobby efforts of the quota holders.Lanny SawchukOak Bay Marine Group