Reduced caps on halibut needed for conservation reasons



I have to respond to Ron Wakita’s letter, published January 149, 2011, calling for a letter writing campaign to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) asking for a larger allocation of halibut for recreational anglers.

I have been a commercial halibut fisherman since 1974. I have a lot of money invested in halibut quota as well as a boat and fishing gear. With this investment I hope to be able to make a modest living. It is also my retirement fund. When someone suggests they want part of something I have worked so hard for, even dipping into my pension plan, I get testy.

The annual quota for halibut in BC is set by the International Pacific Halibut Commission in late January each year. The quota for 2011 is likely to be slightly larger than last year. I have confidence in the IPHC’s ability to set these limits. The pacific halibut fishery is probably the best managed in the world.

After a lengthy independently facilitated process, in 2003, DFO decided to split the annual catch quota, 88 per cent was assigned to commercial fisherman and 12 per cent to recreational anglers. Problems have only arisen in the last few years. Allowable catch levels have been reduced for both sectors by 47 per cent since 2007.

To quote Red Green “we are all in this together.” We both need to keep within these reduced caps for conservation reasons. There are some indications that halibut abundance is on the increase in our area, soon allowing a harvest that will keep everyone happy.

Alan Carl (A Gumboat Skipper),

M.V. “Karmsund”