Sunday, 6 April 2014

Gail Shea's Response to the Sport Fishing Institute, Updated April 6, 2014

From: XNCR, Min
Sent: March 2014
Subject: Reply from Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Mr. Robert Alcock
Sport Fishing Institute of British Columbia < >

Dear Mr. Alcock:

Thank you for your correspondence of January 14, 2014, regarding various issues facing the British Columbia recreational fishery.  I enjoyed meeting with you and your organization during your trip to Ottawa.

The Government of Canada is committed to the sustainable management of the Pacific halibut resource.  Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) appreciates working collaboratively with the Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB) in advance of each recreational halibut fishing season.  In early 2013, DFO and the SFAB reviewed the existing management measures and changes were implemented to keep the recreational fishery within its portion of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) while providing for the longest fishing season possible.  DFO implemented a number of management measures for the 2013 season, including delaying the opening of the recreational season until March 15, 2013, implementing an annual limit of six halibut per angler, and setting a maximum size limit on each fish caught.  As you are aware, with these measures in place for 2013, the recreational halibut fishery remained open until December 31, 2013.

I appreciate receiving your input regarding licence fees and electronic licensing; the Department and the SFAB are currently collaborating to inform management for the 2014 fishing season, with the same objective of keeping the recreational fishery within its portion of the TAC while providing for the longest fishing season possible.  I can assure you that your input is being considered during these discussions.

The experimental licence introduced in 2011, which allows recreational harvesters to lease Pacific halibut quota from commercial harvesters based on market value, continues to be available to provide additional recreational fishing opportunities for those interested.  Participation in this experimental program has grown each year since its introduction, and provides fishing opportunities that otherwise would not exist for individual anglers and recreational fishing businesses.  As DFO moves forward with regulatory changes to consider implementing this market-based transfer mechanism over the long term, the development of management measures, monitoring requirements and enforcement provisions will continue to evolve in response to lessons learned and to input received.  The incremental government cost to manage the program is anticipated to be low, as the licensing and quota management infrastructure is already in place.

As you are no doubt aware, DFO has hired a consulting company to review the current Tidal Waters Licence fees and to provide advice to the Department on potential changes to those fees.  The consultant will interview your organization and others in the recreational community to obtain feedback on potential changes and ideas on how these fees might be collected.

I appreciate your support for DFO's intention to move to 100 percent online issuance of licences effective April 1, 2014.  As you indicate, addressing bulk sales and limited Internet access are challenges that require mitigation.  As part of this process, the Department has been working with the SFAB on upcoming changes and options to address any problems.  These options include encouraging individual harvesters to purchase their licences ahead of time, as well as a new vendor tool to provide the ability to pre-purchase licences and to purchase licences in bulk to meet demands during peak times for vendors.  In future phases, DFO is interested in evaluating the development and implementation of fishing applications for installation on smartphones and tablets with the Sport Fishing Institute of British Columbia and other interested parties.

Thank you for taking the time to write.

Yours sincerely,

Gail Shea, P.C., M.P

No comments:

Post a Comment