OTTAWA - The Green Party of Canada is calling on Minister Ashfield to ensure that Atlantic inshore fisheries are protected by the fleet separation policy. This policy prevents a company from both catching and processing fish. “We need to protect coastal livelihoods and the communities they support,” said Green Fisheries Critic Janice Harvey. “When corporations take over fishing licences, which happens without fleet separation, sustainable small scale fisheries disappear along with the communities they support. These are the fisheries that are sustainable and they are continually sacrificed on the altar of economic efficiency.”
“We have seen the same problem in BC with the halibut fishery and it has led to fishers having no access to quota and quota being held by buyers rather than fishers. We should learn from this lesson and do better on the Atlantic coast,” said Green Leader and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May. “Modernizing policy should not equate to giving big corporations free access. We should be concerned about protecting local jobs and local economies.”
“We are also calling on the Minister to prevent lobster licences within lobster fishing districts being sold to people or companies that not resident in those districts. This is an issue on Grand Manan Island at the moment,” said Harvey.
Fisheries groups are also concerned that the government may be considering abandoning the owner-operator policy which requires the fishing licence-holder to catch the fish.
“Policies which prevent large corporations from taking over the inshore and mid-shore fisheries are for the good of our coastal communities,” said May.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is collecting responses to a January discussion paper until March 14th. Groups are concerned that the document is missing the fleet separation and owner-operator policies.
“The Minister could allay a lot of fears if he would simply confirm that these policies will be maintained,” said May.