Business, not fish, protected

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

To the Editor,

Last week’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.

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.

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 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.

Lanny Sawchuk,

Oak Bay

Marine Group