VANCOUVER, BC, Feb. 6, 2023 /CNW/ – The British Columbia Seafood Alliance (BCSA) responded today to the Northern Shelf Bioregion Network Action Plan (NAP) Endorsement by the Government of Canada and their partners at the IMPAC5 congress.
“Today’s announcement by the Government of Canada flies in the face of commercial fishery advice provided by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous fish harvesters that would have met or exceeded government conservation objectives while reducing the impacts to commercial fisheries and food security,” began Christina Burridge, Executive Director of the BCSA.
British Columbia currently leads Canada in marine conservation, and will soon exceed the federal target of protecting 30% of waters by 2030 with around 35% conserved and protected by the end of 2023. Furthermore, 33% of all commercial fishing licenses in BC are held by First Nations, with over 25% of commercial fishing employment being Indigenous.
“British Columbia’s commercial fishing industry has already proven that we can work with government and Indigenous partners to meet common objectives. In the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area on Haida Gwaii, we worked with the Council of the Haida Nation, Parks Canada, and other industry partners to set a model for marine zoning that works for all stakeholders. Unfortunately, the NAP does not use this model,” continued Burridge.
In addition to the loss of more than 100 million high protein meals, the government’s marine conservation process will result in lost investment, incomes and jobs by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants involved in fishing or supporting infrastructure and businesses. The BC Ministry of Agriculture has estimated that this process will result in lost revenue to commercial fishing of $125 million per year.
“To mitigate unintended consequences, we continue to ask the Government of Canada to fairly address those impacted through the creation of a transition plan that equitably reallocates access from the current commercial fishing participants to Indigenous communities, a goal that all stakeholders share.” concluded Burridge.
The BC Seafood Alliance is a non-profit organization established in 1999 to represent British Columbia’s seafood industries. As an umbrella group that brings together traditional capture fisheries, seafood processors, marketers and exporters, the BC Seafood Alliance collectively represents more than 90% of the commercially harvested seafood in BC worth almost $1 billion in sales annually.
The BC Seafood Alliance represents the united voice of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses that comprise BC’s seafood sector, providing effective leadership, advocacy and communication in pursuit of a profitable and sustainable seafood industry in British Columbia.
SOURCE British Columbia Seafood Alliance