Allocation, not conservation, the issue

author disturbed

The author is pictured with his latest catch.

The author is pictured with his latest catch.

I am disturbed and I feel betrayed by Prime Minster Stephen Harper and my member of parliament, John Duncan, over this important recreational fishing issue. I am further dismayed when I learned that Mr. Harper is in Europe supposedly helping to right the wrongs against the Libyan people while contributing to the destruction of the citizen rights of recreational fishing Canadians. The reasons for my deeply emotional sense of betrayal is based on the announced closure of the recreational halibut fishery on Sunday while the commercial fishery remains open to catch hundreds of thousands of pounds of halibut before the end of the year. It is an allocation issue not a conservation issue.

When Harper visited Campbell River during the recent election he stated he would solve the allocation issue and Duncan indicated he understood that issue. I along with thousands of recreational anglers am furious over this untimely, brutish closure on Sept. 5. The recreational fishing industry, which is an important industry to coastal B.C., has been wounded and trashed by a fisheries department that is biased towards commercial fisheries and uncaring about citizen rights dating back to the Magna Carta.

Pictured with this column is a photograph of an 85-year-old happy Canadian Citizen (namely me), who has just enjoyed the thrill of landing a 30-plus pound halibut while fishing with friends out of Port Hardy last week. It is part of the 12 per cent allocation of the halibut quota to over 100,000 recreational anglers, mostly Canadian plus valuable tourists. In the meantime the remaining 88 per cent of the allocation has been given to 436 commercial halibut quota holders of which only 156 go out and actually fish. According to reliable reports the balances of the quota holders simply lease out the quotas and collect royalty cheques. It smacks of a very successful commercial fishery lobby in the halls of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the parliamentary offices of politicians in Ottawa. Yet my prime minister is overseas supposedly trying to correct the sins of the disgraced dictator of Libya.

My personal politics have always been right of centre, but I watched the Celebration of Life of the late Jack Layton, Opposition Leader at our parliament in Ottawa. It was a moving, soul inspiring two-hour celebration of the life of a dedicated, uplifting, honest politician who has left a hole in our national politics – but his untimely passing will serve as an inspiration for millions of ordinary Canadians far from the halls of power. He cared about the sharing of the wealth of this enormously wealthy country, which seems bent on giving the common property resources of the people over to the control of a privileged few as in the case of the halibut allocation to a small number of commercial fishing interests.

My message in this column is for recreational anglers to get off their collective butts and let these self-serving politicians know you are fed up. Mr. Duncan, the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, is not very good at responding to the concerns of his constituents on this matter; yet while campaigning in the recent election he assured us he would put a senior person on the problem to seek a solution. His constituency office phone number in Courtenay is (250) 338-9381 or toll free at 1-800-667-8404. You can mail him a letter in Ottawa without the cost of a stamp.

As I watched the ceremony on Saturday morning the camera moved around the assembled crowd and I couldn’t help but wonder what went through the minds of the assembled politicians, both current and past prime ministers. It was a simple moving testament to a great Canadian and his concern about the well being of all Canadians – not just the power and privileges of a few. Recreational anglers come from all levels of society, but in our society the majorities come from ordinary Canadians who enjoy the simple pleasures of catching our own fish.

As recreational anglers we can pick up Jack Layton’s legacy of hope for all and assert our rights as ordinary citizens to a fair share of the halibut resource and with them the common property resources of our collective oceans from coast to coast to coast.

Statistics source – SFI Newsletter

Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The CVCDA Accessibility Project is creating safer ramps at the Courtenay facility. Photo supplied
Accessibility project underway at Comox Valley Child Development Association

Over the past month, you may have noticed some construction underway behind… Continue reading

19 Wing Comox’s Wing Auxiliary Security Force (WASF) will be conducting training at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Comox and the Department of National Defence Seal Bay training area from April 12-16. Black Press file photo
19 Wing training set for April at Seal Bay, CFB Comox

Members of the public may see an increase in activity at locations in the Valley

The Union Bay Improvement District is holding its AGM April 29 as it looks to hand over services to the regional district. Record file photo
Union Bay board hikes water rates due to operating costs

Board also planning for AGM, transition to regional district service

A grad clothing donation program, formerly known as the Cinderella/Prince Charming Project, now has a new name. Photo, Comox Valley Schools
Comox Valley grad garment program gets a re-brand

Program aims to give all students opportunity for graduation gown or suit

Town of Comox council (from left) Alex Bissinger, Ken Grant, Nicole Minions, Mayor Russ Arnott, Stephanie McGowan, Maureen Swift and Pat McKenna. Photo by Kim Stallknecht
Comox council sets residential tax rate just below five per cent

The increase is “as good as we can get,” noted Coun. Stephanie McGowan

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

Immunization plan comes with built-in options for any unused vaccines at the end of the day

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning says the players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering and the team still intends to play a 56-game season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks players ‘mostly on the other side’ of COVID outbreak: general manager

The athletes have had a “whole range” of COVID-19 symptoms, said team physician Dr. Jim Bovard, but no one has needed to be hospitalized

Police are investigating after a man was shot Thursday, April 8 while sitting in a car in Vancouver. (Black Press files)
Man shot in Vancouver while sitting in a parked car: police

The victim is currently in critical condition. Police say no arrests have been made.

Most Read