Stop the Canadian Government from closing prime commercial fishing grounds

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Attention BC Fishermen!!!

The Canadian Liberal government is snatching our livelihoods right out from underneath us without even telling us. There has been virtually no consultation process, and they are pushing on without any consideration for our industry.

Presently, DFO and the Canadian government is pushing through with a very broad closure of prime fishing ground in Haida Gwaii. 50% of the fishing grounds around Gwaii Haanas, both the east and west coasts and all of the area around Cape St. James are slated to be closed down to all commercial fishing by February of this year. Presently, fishing groups are fighting hard to mitigate which areas are closed as to not affect our groundfish, prawn, tuna, and crab fleets. Yet, still many are unaware that this is even happening.

Once again, the government is USING First Nations people to further their private agenda. The government first approached First Nations band’s on the east coast, the prairie provinces, and the arctic to ask for permission to turn the waters adjoining their territory into Canadian parkland and marine protected areas. The FN band’s in those areas denied the government in favour of keeping their commercial fisheries alive in the proposed Marine Protected Areas. The government mandate for this program is to turn 15% of canada’s Oceansinto park land and marine protected areas, which could be up to 30% of Pacific waters. With the east coast, central, and arctic regions having been denied they are looking to close down VAST swaths of Ocean to commercial and sport fishing in B.C.

Here’s what Fishermen need to understand: these closures will affect us all. First Nations, Non First Nations, sport fishermen. The mandate of these planned closures is to not even allow First Nations groups to utilize these areas for commercial fishing. These will be no go zones for commercial and sport.

DFO sought out social license and approval from north Coast bands, and got it. There are 9 signing Nations on this plan, and they are all under the guise that they will be able to continue to fish here and manage the resources. This is false, as there will be nothing in these areas to manage, and First Nations Commercial Fishermen will be displaced as well. FSC Fisheries will be allowed to some extent, but not on the same profitable level as the commercial fisheries.

There is no scientific basis or conservation concerns in the decision to close these areas. The entire plan of these closures was the brainchild of the liberal government, formulated by people in Ottawa who neither care about or understand our industry. They are pushing for another feel good story to share with their constituents. There has been next no consultation process with industry, no economic impact statements, and very little publication on the move to create these Marine Protected Areas. It has been done in a manner that has kept industry in the dark.

If there was ever a time for First Nations Fishermen, non First Nations Fishermen, and sport fishermen to band together, THIS IS IT. We are all Fishermen regardless of race or user group. We all fish the same Ocean. We are all in this together. It’s time to stand up for our industry.

The government has a plan to next close portions of the central coast. After that they plan on taking steps towards creating more closures around Northern Vancouver Island. This is going to stress our industry and cause the fleets to crowd into smaller areas. We will all be part of history as the last Fishermen on this coast if things keep going in this direction. It’s time to act. We need to show that we are unified and will not be displaced. We need to set a precedent for the future. Please
Contact me with any further questions.

We are all Fishermen. Let’s preserve this together. 

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