It has been great to see House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans putting forward 20 unanimously supported recommendations for changes to West Coast fisheries policies on May 7, 2019.
For the past year Slow Fish Canada has been fighting for change to West Coast fisheries policies. As Slow Fish Canada, we’re very pleased to see the 20 recommendations unanimously supported by FOPO members to change West Coast fisheries policies so that the benefits of fishing licences and quota go to active fish harvesters, First Nations, and fishing communities.
These recommendations are a huge step forward for ensuring the benefits from fish in B.C. waters go to B.C. fish harvesters, First Nations and communities, rather than to processing companies and speculative investors, some of them outside of Canada. Our fisheries provide one of the highest quality local food sources we have as Canadians, and in a time of increasing food insecurity and insufficient access to healthy, affordable food, we must take action to ensure that local fish harvesters can continue to supply local food markets. Our vision for the future is for Canadians to have access to a large diversity of their local seafood, ethically and sustainably sourced, with a value chain in place that everyone can benefit from, from the fisherman to the consumer.
If these recommendations are taken seriously and implemented appropriately, we can take dramatic steps towards creating a fair, prosperous, responsible and sustainable BC fishery. We now look to the Fisheries Minister to adopt FOPO’s recommendations, and continue to engage BC government, fish harvesters, First Nations, industry and community stakeholders to ensure a more equitable distribution of benefits, and more transparency around quota/licence ownership and transactions, of West Coast fisheries.
For more information, our colleagues at Ecotrust Canada have issued a statement in response.