Government 'hell bent' on destroying commercial fishery, says MP

The Department of Fisheries and Ocean is driving the commercial fishery to extinction, according to Skeena – Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.

Cullen made the comments on May 23, one day after commercial fishermen gathered in Prince Rupert to raise concerns about a new monitoring program that will require at-sea monitors for gillnetters and seine boats and could cost boat owners to 13 per cent of pre-tax income.

"The Federal Government seems hell bent on getting rid of the commercial fishery... This appears to be the way of killing the fishery, death of 1,000 cuts," he said, adding that the fishery doesn't appear to be on the government's radar.

"Salmon simply aren't the priority for this government. Pipelines are. We have an unwilling and unintelligent government right now and I can't think of a lower priority for this government right now."

In particular, Cullen lashed out at Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Keith Ashfield.

"I can't imagine a single thing he has done to help the commercial fishery on the west coast," said Cullen.

"I don't know how the Minister can sleep at night collecting a paycheque."

While he is hopeful a solution can be found here in the northwest, Cullen said people "are right to be upset" about the new monitoring guidelines.

A representative from the DFO was not immediately available for comment.

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