Today, Byron Horner, Conservative candidate for Courtney Alberni, announced the Conservative Party’s intention to support fisheries.
The announcement was made at 9:00AM at the French Creek Harbour, with approximately 30 people from the sport fishing and commercial sector in attendance, as part of a coordinated, Canada-wide press announcement. The announcement included the following campaign commitments that are relevant to the BC fishing community:
- Create advisory panels made up of fish harvesters, anglers, indigenous groups, and other experts to discuss rebuilding fish stocks
- Work with industry on a strategy to prevent seafood fraud
- Support technology and practices that aim to keep wild and farmed salmon apart
- Rebuild wild Atlantic and Pacific salmon stocks through the Salmonid Enhancement Program and partnerships with community groups
- Finish recovery plans for critical fisheries, including how to manage predator and invasive species
In addition to these promises, Byron said, “We are going to increase the price of the Salmon Conservation Stamp for non-residents to provide millions more to support the important work of the Pacific Salmon Foundation.”
Expansion of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) has been a primary concern for fisherman, as it would translate to popular fishing areas being shut down permanently. This concern came into play when the Liberals announced their campaign commitment to expand MPAs from the current appoximately 10% to 25% by 2025.
“We will repeal measures that bypass community consultation for Marine Protected Areas. Under the Trudeau Liberals, Marine Protected areas (MPAs) are being determined before consultations even happen” Byron said. “That’s unfair, that’s undemocratic. Canada must have a robust, science-based protected area system. The Conservative party has committed to setting aside 10% of Canada’s marine area. But unlike the Trudeau Liberals, we will conduct meaningful consultations with local communities, governments, business owners, and indigenous peoples to make sure that our approach is balanced, promotes sustainability, and is fair between Canada’s 3 coastal regions.”
When asked about marked selective fisheries vs non-retention, Bryon indicated the party didn’t have an official position on it, but he had no objections to a marked select fishery.
Byron also announced the party’s commitment to provide $250 million for small craft harbours Canada-wide, with French Creek, Ucluelet, and Tofino as examples, but did not comment on how allocation would affect BC in general or Vancouver Island specifically.
Pat Ahern, President of the West Coast Fishing Guides Association, said, “I think the main thing promised was investment into creating more abundance and to create a multi-sectoral consultation process. What we really need is to have stakeholders having a larger stake in deciding fishery policy and for DFO to be providing scientific technical advice. Take the politics out of fisheries management!”