Statements about fisheries incorrect

Statements about fisheries incorrect

To say that west coast salmon stocks are over fished is absolutely ludicrous.

Statements about fisheries incorrect

To say that I’m disappointed in what Dr. Rashid Sumalia had to say about Marine Protected Areas is a gross understatement.

Dr. Sumalia was very quick to point his finger at the salmon and herring fisheries in B.C. in his feeble attempt to discredit the west coast’s sustainable fisheries framework. To say that west coast salmon stocks are over fished is absolutely ludicrous. The commercial fishing sector has very few opportunities to actually fish, and when they do, they catch a fraction of what the sport fleet on the west coast catches.

When it comes to herring, the central and north coast stocks have rebuilt to the point that a fishery could be supported, but the government has chosen to keep them closed for political reasons. The Strait of Georgia herring stocks are healthy, and have come back from the brink of extinction. The SOG stocks have been very cautiously managed year after year, and the stock assessments and peer reviewed science clearly shows this.

The most alarming thing about Sumalia’s statements is this: the three fisheries that Sumalia was able to come up with as examples of unsustained management will not be under any protection from the proposed Marine Protected Area Network. Sumalia is completely out of touch with reality. Fisheries such as crab and prawns are at historic highs for abundance. Halibut, black cod, king cod, rockfish, urchins, geoducks, are all well managed fisheries, and these are the fisheries on the chopping block. The examples that Sumalia gave are not even in the conversation as far as the MPA Network is concerned.

So we go back to the beginning of this conversation. If the MPA Network is mostly aimed at closing sustainable, economically important fisheries, but is leaving struggling fisheries to continue to struggle, what good is this network of closures at all?

Lance Underwood

Cowichan Bay