Recreational halibut closure unfair to local operators

Oak Bay Marine Group spokesperson calls out Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Last month’s announcement of a shut-down of recreational fishing is terrible news for coastal communities.

Our company operates a number of businesses on the coast of British Columbia, including sports fishing resorts and marinas. Several of these businesses will be severely impacted by this closure. Our employees will soon be dealing with guests that are unable to fulfill their plans to fish halibut, guests that in many cases travelled from great distances, at great expense, to have that experience.

We’re also dealing with cancellations. We’ll no doubt be cutting back staffing levels accordingly, resulting in a ripple effect of lost economic activity for these communities where our employees live, work and spend money.

In difficult economic times, the results of DFO’s policy are completely contradictory to the government of Canada’s attempts to provide economic stimulus.

It’s quite simple. The recreational sector, based on its contribution to the economy of Canada, needs more than 12 per cent of the allowable catch. We are by no means advocating higher catch limits than what is prescribed at the beginning of each fishing season for halibut. We just need a bigger slice of the pie to stay in business.

Our friends in the commercial sector will also argue that they need to make a living. We wholeheartedly agree. Unfortunately, what has occurred by the protection of this halibut quota is that the quota holders are literally making hundreds of thousands of dollars selling their quota (which was acquired for free) every year. Less than one third of these quota holders actually fish. So in truth, DFO is really protecting big business and quota traders, not the livelihoods of commercial fishermen.

If things don’t change, how could we interpret a perpetuation of the existing halibut allocation policy to be anything other than DFO being influenced more by big business and quota traders than by the economic and social needs of thousands in coastal communities?

Then there’s DFO’s “experimental fishery,” which is essentially the recreational sector paying big business and quota traders for a right to catch some of their “gifted” halibut quota. Surely DFO can’t be serious?

Lanny Sawchuk

executive vice-president,

chief operations officer

Oak Bay Marine Group

Just Posted

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Island Savings kick-starts the Equipped to Heal campaign with $120,000. (Courtesy Victoria Hospitals Foundation)
Latest Victoria Hospitals Foundation campaign targets $1M for mental health

Goal is to outfit new 19-bed unit at Eric Martin Pavilion

Google Maps shows significant traffic backups after a crash reported shortly before noon on Father’s Day, June 20. (Google Maps)
Father’s Day crash in Saanich closes lane of McKenzie Avenue

Police say there were injuries, traffic impacted

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read