Feb 18, 2006 SEHAB Roundtable update—BCWF
Here is a brief update on activities that myself and others have been involved with at the BCWF during 4
Q 2005:
Individual Transfer Quotas (ITQs) appears to be the preferred system by DFO, but rejected by the sport fishing sector, and some segments of the commercial fishing industry has been the subject of much time and discussion. Essentially the ITQ gives a portion of the total allowable catch (TAC), (usually gifted initially) to individual commercial harvesters (or their companies) which can then be bought, sold, or leased.
If quotas are to be the management system we end up with, we have argued, and continue to argue, for a system which would, in our words, save the recreational fishing community harmless.  By this we mean that a priority system of TAC should be determined each year and, where harvestable surplus exists, a pre-determined First Nations FSC harvest comes first, then, if surplus is still available, the needs of the sport fishery are provided for next.  Then, if a further surplus is available, commercial fishing opportunities may occur. If individual quotas are deemed the best management options for the commercial fishery, they can then be implemented with no adverse impact.
We have prepared two formal briefs, one of which was presented to the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries whom we met in Vancouver, then again in Ottawa at their request.  This brief was well received, and is on the BCWF web site for your pleasure. The other was presented to provincial Minister of the Environment, Barry Penner and his senior staff at a meeting in Victoria.
In our discussions with both Federal and Provincial government politicians and bureaucrats, we have spent considerable time trying to broaden their perspective of the recreational fishing community. We have explained about the size of our fishery and the diversity of its participants; the economic and social impact of adverse management decisions that unduly restrict our access to the resource; and the fact that the BCWF is speaking for a large segment of the community. We have tried to present the views of recreational anglers from all areas of the coast, and have emphasized the need for enhancing opportunity and expectation in waters close to the majority of anglers, particularly in and around the Georgia Basin.
While most stocks remain healthy and normal sport fisheries on them are anticipated in 2006, there are others (notably some Chinook and Coho stocks in the Georgia Basin) that are in declining abundance and severe harvest restrictions will be imposed to ensure their survival. One example is lower St. of G. Chinook. Escapement has been declining for several years now and is approaching levels of serious conservation concern.
Last, but not least, I would like to invite everyone to the 50th Anniversary BCWF Annual General Meeting, and convention to be held in Penticton from March 29-April 1,2006. Details can be found on our website http://www.bcwf.bc.ca/ .
Respectfully submitted
Shaun Hollingsworth