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UFAWU-Unifor responds to DFO’s Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative

Union states there is no evidence of overfishing in the commercial fleet
UFAWU-Unifor stated on June 8 that there is no evidence of commercial fishing fleet overfishing for salmon. A salmon being weighed in Prince Rupert during the correct season in 2020. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

United Fisherman and Allied Workers Union - UNIFOR has responded with deep concerns to the same-day announcement by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) introduction of the Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative (PSSI), on June 8.

The UFAWU-Unifor responded that it is deeply troubled by the dire state of the commercial salmon industry, albeit very appreciative that DFO is addressing the current plight.

The initiative “aims to curb historic declines in key Pacific salmon stock and rebuild species to a sustainable level,” the DFO stated in a media release. The PSSI is based on four key pillars: Conservation and stewardship; Enhanced hatchery production; harvest transformation; and integrated management and collaboration.

“It is crucial that steps are taken to save B.C. salmon,” the union stated.

“While it is evident that salmon are in a state of crisis, so are B.C.’s harvesters — DFO has a responsibility to both salmon fishermen and industry workers.”

Under the$647.1 million PSSI, the federal government committed to working in partnership with local organizations and groups in its development and delivery.

“We will be working closely with Indigenous communities, harvester, recreational fishers, industry environmental organizations and Provincial and territorial partners to advance actions under each pillar to stabilize the species, and to support a more modern, sustainable and economically resilient sector,” Bernadette Jordan Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Cost guard stated in the DFO release.

“The strategy will represent the largest-ever government investments in the efforts to save Pacific Salmon, and aims to stop the declines now while helping re-build populations over the longer term,” DFO stated.

However, the fishermens’ union stated there is no evidence of overfishing by the commercial fleet.

“Rather it is current policies, combined with a lack of salmon fishing that has created a crisis.”

A comprehensive list of recommendations on the future of B.C. commercial salmon fishing has been outlined in the recently released Future of B.C. Commercial Fishing Report, UFAWU-Unifor said.

“Fisherman are in absolute agreement that there is no productive relationship between active fishermen and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. This must change,” the union stated.

K-J Millar | Journalist
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