The House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (FOPO) has released its report.

And Greenways Land Trust is asking residents to read through the report’s recommendations and support them. 

In short, the FOPO’s report includes a rundown of the issues with current licensing of commercial fisheries resources in BC and the impacts it has on fish harvesters, First Nations, and local fishing communities. 

Cynthia Bendickson, executive director of Greenways Land Trust, says the way licences have been allocated in BC by DFO has concentrated economic benefits to corporate entities, rather than fish harvesters. 

“This is in stark contrast to DFO policy on the East Coast of Canada, which encourages owner-operators and fleet separation between harvesters and processors,” Bendickson said. 

This has resulted in lower incomes for fish harvesters in BC, according to the report. The report also adds that in 2015, the average income for self-employed fish harvesters in BC was only equal to 56% of the Canadian average. 

The FOPO report has recommendations on how to alleviate the socio-economic stress of the licensing policy in BC. Greenways Land Trust and other organizations are voicing their support of the recommendations.

Now, they are asking for residents and independent fish harvesters to also voice their support. 

Bendickson adds Greenways supports the recommendations because they are one of the many organizations working with Island Health and the Island Food Hubs to improve food security on Vancouver Island. 

Wild-capture commercial fisheries can provide some of the most sustainable food products when well-managed, because they work in existing ecosystems. This then, can improve food security across the board, Bendickson adds. 

“How does the FOPO report relate to food security? By discouraging independent fish harvesters, DFO policy is privatizing a common-property resource. This resource is then being funneled as a commodity into the global food system – bypassing local people entirely and restricting our access to the resource.” 

To provide your feedback, you can email them to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Jonathan Wilkinson at min@dfo-mpo.gc.ca