As soon as we hear something, we'll inform the committee members as to when it is coming.
Thank you for raising that.
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), we are studying the regulation of the west coast fisheries.
Today, we have a number of witnesses by video conference and here in person.
By video conference, we have David MacKay, fisherman, and Des Nobels, fisherman. Representing the United Fishermen and Allied Workers' Union-Unifor, we have Joy Thorkelson.
Here in person, we have Mr. Dan Edwards, fisherman, and Mr. Peter de Greef, fisherman.
Welcome, everyone, to the committee. You each have seven minutes to give a statement.
We'll start with those appearing by video conference first. We like to get those done in case there's an issue with the screen or bringing it forward for everyone to hear and see.
We'll start with Mr. David MacKay.
You have seven minutes or less.
Okay, we have no....
We'll move to Des.
Des, if you could start, please.
My name is Modestus Nobels. I'm a retired commercial fisherman. I retired in 2007 from fishing actively.
I live in the small community of Dodge Cove just outside of Prince Rupert, which was a fishing community. We built the northern fleet out of that community. Over 1,000 vessels were launched from that community for the fishery.
I fished for almost three decades and have worked with and for commercial fishermen in a number of advisory processes, and in some of the planning structures that have taken place on the Pacific coast.
I'm also an elected official with the North Coast Regional District. I sit on the Groundfish Development Authority, and I chair the Coastal Community Network.
I would like to thank the committee for providing us this opportunity to provide you with some testimony and some of our feelings around regulatory issues and licensing on the west coast. I'm extremely grateful to the committee for finally coming to take a look at this. We've been asking for a number of years that this be reviewed. It's had significant impacts on our communities and those that are fishing in the industry at present.
The present regulatory structure that we're working under here, the ITQ, individual transferable quota structure, has in my mind been extremely detrimental to both those that are actively fishing in the region and to those communities that have been involved over the years in the fishery itself. We've seen an immense downturn in our communities' infrastructures and a lot of the people that were once fishing are no longer fishing from our communities. Yet, we have an immense resource on our doorsteps that we are not able to partake in.
Quotas in and of themselves are not a problem. They are another tool with which to manage the fishery. It's the transferability of those quotas that creates much of the issue that we're dealing with here. In that transferability piece, we've created a commodity out of the licensing itself. In many cases, it's been driven it out of the hands of working fishermen into the hands of investors and corporate interests. In the end, it doesn't benefit our communities to a great degree. In many cases, those entities are coalescing and collecting their enterprises in single centres.
Our small communities, which have always relied on these fisheries as part of their economic base, have seen significant downturns in their ability to maintain their infrastructures and populations. We've seen fishermen leaving our communities over the last few decades and not seen them return. We have young people that would like to enter the fishery, but under the present structure that exists, they are unable to do that. The cost is so prohibitive that many of them would be looking at indentureship for the rest of their lives to actually enter many of the fisheries that we presently have. That is an extreme concern for me and many people who live in the communities that I work with.
There are ways of addressing this.
That sounds good, okay.
I'm David MacKay, and I'm a fifth-generation commercial fish harvester from the coastal community of Pender Harbour, where I was born and raised. I participate in the roe herring gillnet fishery and the northern salmon troll and gillnet fishery.
I have been back in the industry for about six years now, and it's been difficult. I think one of the big notes I want to hit here does touch on ITQs and I can talk about that, too, but one of the notes I want to hit here is about married licences.
Here's just a little history that you guys may know. When we went to area licensing, licences for salmon were separated into three troll licences, three areas of gillnet, and then two seine areas. Vessel owners and operators who wanted to fish all the areas had to buy those licences. Instead of owning one before, they had to buy those area licences. Our department has made it impossible to separate them, so we call them married licences. I'd like to see the married licences disappear. I think every fisherman I've talked to has said the exact same thing, and that's my key note here that I want to speak on.
When we separate licences, we allow an individual licence to be purchased by a young harvester. What's happening right now is that my father and lots of other guys are getting ready to retire from the industry, and they have two, three or more licences and they can't sell that as a package to anyone. So it ends up going through PICFI or they just hold on to it, and they're in their old age. Being able to unmarry them would help them divest in the industry; it would help somebody young get into the industry. It's a simple solution, and it's being done through PICFI. Once the licences go through PICFI, they are being broken up, so what is the problem? Why are we not doing that? That's my biggest concern.
I just heard another instance about the troll retirement program. I think I have a couple of minutes here, but I'll quickly speak on this. The Pacific Salmon Treaty is a voluntary salmon troll licence retirement program—it's a real mouthful. If I had a troll licence I'd just married to my boat and I wanted to divest in the industry and I wanted to get rid of that—just that one licence—I couldn't. However, through this program I can voluntarily retire it through basically a round process. I think we've retired more than 100 licences on our coast in the three different troll areas—106, I believe, or around there. There were 400 applications since October 31, 2016. Those 106 licences have disappeared off our coast completely; they retired. That's 106 boats, or 106 jobs times the crew. This is the problem. It seems like a really simple solution, so I just wanted to touch on that. I'm sure we'll have some questions on it later.
That's my intro. Thank you again to the committee for having us. I'll pass on the microphone.
Great. I'll pick up where I left off. I was starting to discuss the individual transferable quota structure and how that's impacted communities and new entrant fishermen in attempting to get into the fishery.
The ITQ structure's transferability has created a commodity out of the licensing, and as such has created a proprietary right. That has brought in people who are not engaged in the fishery but are looking to invest and are buying up licences as investment properties, driving the prices up to the point where those who are engaged in the fisheries are finding it very hard to actually access that licensing. In many cases, once that licensing is purchased, it's held.
We've noted over the last couple of years in the groundfish development authority that we are seeing quotas transferred over to foreign interests. We are no longer seeing Canadians purchase these licences. We are seeing them being bought by interests offshore. This is really beginning to concern many of us who are engaged in the industry, because once those quotas are divested, there is little likelihood in actually getting them back. It's a tough slog. As well, it drives the prices up to the point where young fishermen who are looking to access and enter the fishery are unable to. The cost is so prohibitive. That is something that should never be the case. The licensing should not outweigh the value of the fish that you catch with that licence.
As such, I believe that the transferability should be removed from that portion of the licensing regime so that we have a licence that remains with the fisherman and remains in the communities in some fashion. As I was saying, there are a number of ways to address this, I believe. One of them would be through an owner-operator principle and fleet separation. Both of these together would enable fishermen to maintain their position within the industry and limit the access of those who are not actually engaged in the fishery. I'd very much like to see the fishery back in the hands of those active harvesters who are out there and with community involvement through a co-management [Technical difficulty—Editor].
There are several reports I would like to bring to the attention of the committee that I think would be of great value to you to review and understand. The first of these is a report put out by Ecotrust Canada called “Understanding Values in Canada's North Pacific”. This takes a very good look at the tangible and intangible values that exist in the fishery for communities and a region.
The present structure really takes it out of the hands of communities and takes the people out of the communities as well. You have a great loss there. The fabric of many of our communities is built around the fishery structure. It's the co-operative manner that exists within the fisheries that brings our communities together and builds resilient and sustainable communities. We're losing that. We're seeing our communities' fabric dissolve, break apart. We no longer see the connectivity that existed between our communities previously. That is a grave concern for me and others. The owner-operator principle would again maintain that licensing within active fishing hands. Through fleet separation we would ensure that corporate interests are not holding licences and utilizing those in various ways to maintain access or opportunity, both of which tend to be detrimental for both communities and active, working fishermen.
Another report I'd like to suggest to you is one that was just released called “Just Transactions, Just Transitions”. It takes a very close look at how the impacts of ITQs have played out over the last few years within the Pacific region and the impacts on our communities from that regime.
As well, I'd like to draw your attention to some work that was done by Dr. Evelyn Pinkerton some years back called ”Fisheries that Work”. It's a very interesting document that provides a number of opportunities outside of the ITQ structure which addressed some of the issues that the department was addressing through the ITQs, but really in the end did not in my mind.
As well, there are a number of instances already actively functioning around us. We have in Canada itself the east coast fishery, which has become a very community-based fishery, with an owner-operator principle and a very strict fleet separation regime that ensures that active fishermen are the beneficiaries of the harvested product, as well as the communities that benefit from those fishermen who live in those communities. I think that would be an extremely important piece to look at and understand.
We also have a fishery north of us here in Alaska that we've looked to for a number of years for opportunities that we could develop here. They also have a very strict owner-operator principle and fleet separation with a real mind to community-based fisheries management structures that involve communities and fishermen locally. This very strong stewardship component is driven by that, as well as by the fishers who live in those regions. They have a real feeling for the fish and for the place and they understand it. You don't see that in absentee landlords in the ITQ structures, for the most part. We have a lot of people who are not engaged in a fishery holding these quotas as their revenue generator, and that is costing many of our fishermen upwards of 70% of the actual harvested value.
If you take a look at what's happening in Alaska and on the east coast of Canada in revenue returned to fish harvesters, it outstrips what we're seeing in British Columbia where we're seeing a reduction.
I'm the president of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers' Union, which is also known as UFAW-Unifor. Our union represents some, although not all, fishermen in all the wild fisheries in British Columbia.
Our membership is made up of active fishermen only. Those of you who are from Newfoundland and Labrador will know of the FFAW, the fishing union in that province. We are both Unifor and therefore the FFAW is our sister union. We both represent fishermen and plant workers at opposite ends of the country. That is where the similarities end.
Our fishermen's earnings are trending down while the FFAW fishermen's incomes are increasing. Part of that difference is the added costs our fishermen bear. Some 80% of the landed value in ITQ fisheries is taken out of B.C. fishermen's pockets; that income remains in the pockets of our brother and sister fish harvesters on the east coast. A community difference is also evident: B.C. rural coastal communities' processing capacity is diminishing, while in Atlantic Canada, significant processing capacity resides in rural areas.
I have worked for the union for 40 years and I've seen many changes in my career. I'm old. In fact, the majority of people in the B.C. fishing industry are old. The industry was very good to participants and we were able to make a great living, so that's why we all stayed. Now it's too late to leave with economic dignity.
We have a crisis. Old people want out but cannot afford to quit and young people want in but cannot afford to buy in. When I was young, most skippers owned their own licences and vessels. ln 1985, 20,000 fishermen took out personal fishing licences. By 2015, we had lost 15,000 fishermen and only 5,700 were left in British Columbia. The 2015 figure is the latest one published by DFO.
ln 1969, corporate ownership of the fleet was at 13.2%. Fifteen years later, processor and investor ownership of the seine licences, for example, had increased to 40%, and 20 years later, it was 55%. ln 1993, 39% of herring roe licences were owned by processors and investors. By 2012, processor and investor ownership increased to 51%.
ln 1993, one processor owned 27% of the processor-held herring roe seine licences. Now, due to corporate consolidation, this processor, 20 years later, holds 95% of the processor-owned landings. The influence of processors on individual active fishermen can't only be assessed by these ownership numbers. lt also has to be viewed through the lens of processor control.
The major salmon processor owns 37 licences that are attached to 20 non-fishing vessels—vessels that don't really exist, in many cases. They are called “stick boats” because they could be floating sticks. The company can and does lease these licences off their vessels to salmon vessels that need a licence to fish in an additional area.
ln a salmon ITQ fishery, this company can transfer the quota attached to these non-fishing licences to another vessel that is fishing, thereby stacking quota onto this boat. It can catch its own fish and the quota from the stick boat. This binds fishermen to the company. If they want future increased quota opportunities, thereby increasing their income, they will have to continue to fish for this processor. This not only happens on salmon, but it is worse on roe herring, with DFO rules requiring stacking of a minimum number of gillnet licences in order to fish. I can remember a couple of years when active fishermen, forced by DFO to lease licences, lost money because the lease price exceeded the value of the roe herring.
The union did a survey in 2016 of the salmon fleet. Out of 234 respondents, 84% did not think they would benefit from ITQs; 89% thought their costs would go up under an ITQ system and 86% didn't want ITQs in their fishing areas.
ln 2018, two years later, we conducted another study. We expanded it to include all fishermen and all fisheries, and we asked similar questions: “Do you think west coast licensing policy should benefit active fishermen?” Of course 94% polled yes; 91% supported owner-operator policy created to meet the needs of B.C. fishermen; 88% supported a fleet separation policy in British Columbia, and 66% thought the consequence of no change to licensing policy would be that rural coastal communities would continue to decline.
I have heard the RDG list the Pacific region's priorities: conservation, compliance, sustainability and economic viability, equitable distribution of benefits, and data collection. I heard Ken Hardie later on list the DFO's target, but he must have been mistaken, because he included sustainable livelihoods, regional economic benefits and sustainable communities. Those may be Atlantic coast targets, but they're not Pacific region targets, I can assure you.
In the Pacific region DFO separates licence-holders from fishermen. They want fishermen to self-adjust to changing times and to pay for the management of their fishery. There are no social objectives to have sustainable livelihoods for fishermen or regional economic benefits or sustainable communities. These are not in the Pacific region's lexicon.
The real truth is that DFO Pacific is consulting with fewer and fewer active fishermen. They consult with quota owners and licence-holders, who increasingly do not fish. Last spring I and our staff did a six-week coast-wide tour. We visited 21 communities. We walked onto over 800 boats asking fishermen what they wanted changed, if anything, in their fishery. Only a few were satisfied with how things are now. Everyone else wanted changes that would benefit working fishermen.
Not all agreed on the solution, but most agreed on the problem. Money is being siphoned out of working fishermen's catch and into the pockets of those who don't fish. Processors are gaining control of almost every fisherman through their control of quota movement.
Fishermen on the Pacific coast believe it is time for a change. We recommend that the minister hold an external licensing review in the Pacific region with the goal of creating viable commercial fleets and coastal communities, including first nations communities, that include as the foundation the basic principle that the fishery is a public resource and belongs to all Canadians. Licences provide privileged access to the common property resource. There should be fleet separation and owner-operator principles. The benefits of the fishery should go to fish harvesters and their communities, not to those whose involvement is in owning or controlling licences and/or quota. Licensing policies should encourage intergenerational succession, and adjacency principles should govern processing so that the value flowing from our fisheries, including processing, remains in local communities.
We support the social and economic goals in Bill for active fishermen, fish harvesters and their communities.
That is my presentation.
Thank you for allowing me to be a witness at the parliamentary fisheries committee on this critically important topic. I'm appearing before you as an independent small boat owner-operator from British Columbia.
You are going to hear from a number of young harvesters in the next couple of days; I am not one of them. I am 68 years old. I have been working on the decks of small-boat fishing vessels in B.C. since I was about seven years old, although my father, if he were still alive, would probably question how much work I actually did back in those days.
I have fished groundfish every year for the last 20 years with my son. In 2018 I spent two trips fishing halibut with my brother and 10 more trips on our family longline vessel that my son has skippered for the last 20 years, and for the last 10 years fishing under the integrated groundfish regime that we helped to develop in British Columbia, focusing primarily on halibut and sablefish.
We have cameras on our vessel that monitor all our catch. We have independent validation when we land our fish that is audited against our log books and our camera coverage. If we pass all those audits, we are clear to go fishing on the next trip. These systems were designed in collaboration with the management agency and industry in order to provide confidence to the people of Canada, whose resource it is, that we are harvesting. It is important that we be able to prove that we are harvesting in a sustainable and responsible manner, particularly because, with our fishing method, longline fishing with hooks, up to 10,000 a day, we will uncover species that have been identified as being of concern, have very low total allowable catch and are what we in the industry call pinch-point species. We have to manage our fishing plans around those species in order to continue our fishing operation.
In each of the last four years, we have landed on our vessel between 240,000 and 350,000 pounds of a mix of species. When we used to fish dogfish, it was not uncommon for us to land up to 1.6 million pounds of product in a year fishing on our 91-year-old wooden vessel. Not once in all those years have the fleets fishing more than 20 different species of fish gone beyond the total allowable catch for any of those species. In fact, we have the opposite problem. In many instances, we are leaving fish in the water, because we have to be so selective in the way we harvest.
You would think that, after this explanation, I would be here to tell you that everything is just fine in the Pacific region and that we have the best managed fishery in the world, but that's not what my message will be to you.
For the last few years I have been focusing on human rights in relation to the fishing industry and the rights of the individual to make a fair livelihood, a principle that Canada has signed onto as a nation. I have been working with the salmon troll fleet, which has had its livelihood given away by ministerial edict to another sector, the recreational sector, leaving the commercial trollers bankrupted on the beach, with no recognition that it was licensing policy by our own government that destroyed their livelihoods. The government was given advice by respected policy analysts that, if you reallocate from those who have spent their entire livelihoods and all their capital on boats, gear and licences to another user, then they must morally and ethically provide a fair transfer mechanism.
You heard the RDG from the Pacific region the other day say that they do not give compensation. You are the politicians. You must give direction to the department that they have it wrong, that they are obligated by the human rights principles that we as a nation have signed onto, and they must right that wrong.
I also work with the Dungeness crab fleet, and this fleet is also very well managed from a conservation perspective. It was one of the first fleets in the world to use camera technology to oversee its catch, but it is not without its problems. There are constant attempts to reallocate space away from this fishery to other users and uses, whether they be the recreational sector, other industries such as wind farms, to further reconciliation with first nations or to satisfy the pressure from environmental organizations for more marine protected areas. There is no recognition of how damaging the loss of fishing grounds is to economic viability.
There is an urgent need to embed social and economic principles into the management structure so that fishermen are not arbitrarily losing their livelihoods when other interests want to take them away. Whether they are fisheries that are healthy and productive or fisheries that are struggling, the common denominator across virtually all fisheries in B.C. is that the active fishermen are not prospering. On the track we are on, if we don't make a change, we won't have another generation of skilled fishermen to pass the torch to. Who would enter a fishery where they work so hard, and often in very difficult conditions, but make a pauper's wages with no hope for better? It's not because the fishery is not lucrative; it's because so much of the wealth is captured by somebody onshore holding a piece of paper. This management failure is a result of ignoring the socio-economic side of the policy equation over decades.
This is not only a Canadian problem; it is a worldwide problem. I was in Turin, Italy, a few years ago for a slow food conference, and I heard the same story from Brazil to South Africa to the Mediterranean. I was invited by the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance to tour several fishing towns in Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island a few years ago, and I heard exactly the same story over and over again.
There is wealth here beside our communities and it's to be harvested, but it's leaving our communities. It is leaving our active fishermen in the communities adjacent to the resource under a failed ideology, one that says governments do not have to interfere or intervene in the market, that the market, left alone, will equitably distribute the wealth. We have seen how well that is working: 26 people in this world now have more wealth than 3.8 billion people.
I will go back to our fishing enterprise and why, despite working extremely hard on the water, bringing in any one year over $2 million in ex-vessel landed value and helping to design some of the best managed fisheries in the world, my son and I are not making enough money to re-capitalize our enterprise or pull out a living wage for either ourselves or our deckhands, and why we have over the last four years slid into debt to the point that, in one more year under this system, we will be forced to sell out of the industry. I did an analysis of the landed value of the fish that we land. We are paying 80% of the landed value to those who have either been granted the quota or have purchased those licences and quota over the last 25 years and are now renting it back to me—in other words, the exact opposite of owner-operator.
After all that work on the water, and at meetings over the last 20 years to design fisheries that truly do work from a conservation and sustainable harvesting perspective, we are being driven into bankruptcy because, despite repeated warnings, our government has not paid attention to the equitable distribution of the benefits, one of its core responsibilities.
lt was very maddening for me to hear my own Pacific region managers, and for that matter, the manager from the east coast as well, not once in their presentation to this committee last week identify this problem, even though they were told that this entire review was focused around the owner-operator policy and the reason this review was actually called. lt was only the week before their presentation that the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters' Federation met with the RDG and the and I stated that in the halibut fishery, with a landed value of $66 million in 2017, most of that value was captured as rent by those who hold the paper, not participating in the fishery and simply holding an investment.
ln the last eight months, with the recognition of how important owner-operator has been to the health of the east coast fishing industry and the fabric of their communities in Atlantic Canada, many of the fleets in B.C. have recognized that this inequitable distribution of the benefits cannot be allowed to continue any longer. Active fishermen from the halibut, trawl, tuna, crab, salmon, sablefish, prawns, geoduck and sea urchin fisheries have all approached the department stating that this is a serious problem and it must be rectified. We have proposed to sit down with our fleets and those who control the quota and negotiate a fair sharing arrangement that would be embedded into the management structure through our advisory processes and through our IFMP framework and supported by the discretion of the minister.
We heard the RDG state clearly to you that it's within the mandate of the and the Fisheries Act to equitably distribute the benefits. Indeed, it is one of the fundamental responsibilities of government in respect to the use of the resources it manages, yet whose second-in-command, when asked directly by this committee if they are tracking leasing costs, said, no, they are not.
There are a number of mechanisms that could be used to return the benefits from the fishery back to those who are harvesting the resource and the people of Canada, everything from tax incentive changes to collective bargaining frameworks and specific owner-operator policies, as well as the fair sharing mechanism that we are proposing. lt is very obvious after listening to the department's presentation to you that they intend to ignore this problem. We therefore need you to give them political direction, to fulfill your role as elected representatives to ensure that government does what is needed to correct this outrageous market failure and support the development of a sustainable and productive fisheries sector in B.C.
Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to speak directly to you at this critical moment for our fishing industry.
Good afternoon, honourable members of the standing committee. Thank you for this opportunity to speak about west coast fisheries. Anyone who knows my family will be shocked if I can fit this into seven minutes.
My name is Peter de Greef. I am an active commercial fisherman. I am a partner with my uncle in an independent fishing vessel, the Optimist No. 1, which annually harvests halibut, sablefish and albacore tuna and is also licensed for salmon and rockfish. Our operation has three generations of family involved. Over the past 35 years, I have trolled for salmon and tuna, longlined for halibut and sablefish, gillnetted for roe herring and packed sea urchins and sea cucumber.
For the past 12 years since becoming a vessel owner and licence owner, I have volunteered my time on various boards, committees and associations. Currently, I am the vice-president of the B.C. Tuna Fishermen's Association and a director of the Pacific Halibut Management Association. I sit on the Tuna Advisory Board and on the offshore Pacific region area of interest advisory committee. Most recently, I was appointed as a Canadian commissioner to the International Pacific Halibut Commission.
I speak of these only to show my experience. I am not here representing any entity other than myself as an active independent fisherman.
What my family's independent fishing enterprise requires to be successful is stable access to fish, access to fishing grounds, access to capital, access to competitive markets and access to a fair share of profits. My crew and I also need a safe working environment.
To me, stable access to fish means a stable and sustainable stock and the ability to harvest that stock in a predictable manner. With this in mind, ITQs perform well, especially in combination with our world-renowned and sophisticated integrated groundfish management system, which allows for very little waste of bycatch. Fishers are excellent at targeting species they are after, but not so great at avoiding bycatch. This system holds them accountable and changes behaviour. Transferability is essential for this to work properly.
Access to fishing grounds is simple: the ability to harvest fish where the fish are or could be. Marine protected areas, if not properly implemented, threaten this access.
Access to capital is an issue as well. Licences and quota are extremely expensive. Presently, most fishers make arrangements with processors, large quota holders, family or lending institutions. Processor loans generally come at the cost of independence. Lending institutions will loan on vessels, but very few lend on licences and quota. Those that do need a minimum 50% down payment. A family connection to quota and capital has been invaluable to me, but not everyone has that opportunity.
Access to competitive markets that buy and pay well is also critical. As far as I can see, buyers have done an excellent job in developing new markets in some fisheries and are challenged in others. However, I must note that with so many fishers tied to companies it can be a challenge for independent fishers to get a competitive price.
In order to keep an experienced and dedicated crew and to ensure a vessel is safely maintained, it is important to have a fair share of the profits. Our present family operation has a fair share arrangement. This evolved from my uncle wanting me to continue running his boat and fish his quotas and from my needing some security if I were to continue to fish. In the past, I had crewed in a herring roe lease operation. It never went very well, so I was skeptical about getting into the leasing aspect of fisheries.
The arrangement with my uncle went well, and we decided to form a partnership, buy out my father's boat and gain access to his quotas. It has worked well over the years for crew, vessel and quota holders, as everyone is pulling in the same direction. There are challenges, but mostly due to outside pressures.
The little bit of quota I bought was bought a number of years ago before the values had spiked in groundfish. For me to buy groundfish quota now and maintain the fair share structure would be next to impossible. First, the prices are so high for quota that the returns would not be enough to cover the interest rates.
The truth is there are still a lot of fair share arrangements out there, but for how long?
Another aspect to consider is safety. I was appalled to read that commercial fishing is the deadliest industry, as per a recent analysis in The Globe and Mail. The idea that being a fisher is 14 times more dangerous than being a police officer was shocking. I would attribute a considerable amount of this to socio-economic factors. When there is no money to attract long-term quality crew or to invest in vessel maintenance and new boats, any issues that arise are compounded. Inexperienced crew and vessel breakdown incidents lead to increased deaths, in my opinion.
The ITQ system has done an excellent job delivering on its conservation objectives, but unfortunately, no socio-economic objectives were ever stated, so it has failed to deliver. That does not mean it cannot deliver. Similar to groundfish integration, if objectives are stated, B.C. fishers will deliver. A made-in-B.C. solution developed by the industry stakeholders through our advisory processes with specific socio-economic objectives is the best way forward.
Each fishery has its own challenges so it is best to keep consulting on a fishery-by-fishery basis. One grassroots initiative is the shared benefit and risk proposal. It has gained support from a large number of skippers, crew, vessel owners and licensing quota owners. It could be weighed against other proposals to determine which works best for each fishery.
In summary, the west coast is unique, and although the fishing industry currently lacks in supporting specific socio-economic goals, good things are happening. To foster change properly, a process with the stated conservation and socio-economic objectives should be developed for engagement at the DFO advisory board level for a number of fisheries on the west coast.
Thank you to all our witnesses for providing testimony here or by video conference.
I want to encourage everyone who made recommendations to provide those recommendations to the clerk of the committee in writing if they haven't done that so far. I heard recommendations in a number of presentations, and it would be very, very helpful for the committee to see those recommendations in writing. This goes for everyone who is providing a presentation, even if you send an email saying, “Here's my recommendation.”
Ms. Thorkelson, you gave us a very long recommendation and it was comprehensive, so if we could have that in writing—I'm sure it is if your presentation was submitted—that would be very helpful.
Mr. Nobels, you referred to a number of reports, the Ecotrust Canada reports, and the “Just Transactions, Just Transitions” report. You referenced Dr. Evelyn Pinkerton's “Fisheries that work”. If you wouldn't mind submitting those reports to this committee, those would also be really helpful to refer to. Then all the members of the committee would have access to those, and the clerk, the analysts and everyone could take a look at the work you're referring to.
I want to start with you, Mr. Edwards.
You referenced the fair share mechanism, and you were explaining the components of that to Mr. Hardie when he asked you about that. I'm wondering if you could elaborate a little bit more. You mentioned the idea of a transparent quota registry. Are there other specifics under what you call a fair share mechanism that you'd like to see not only this committee look at but the government implement?
Thank you, Mr. Chair. It's a pleasure to be here.
I would like to begin by thanking the committee for giving me the honour of speaking here and for taking on this very important study. I am here with many other young harvesters who represent the future of our industry. We're ready to engage in proper process. We are the stewards of the resource and we know what we want.
That future is crystal clear for me: fishing licences in the hands of fish harvesters; benefits flowing from fishing enterprises into communities, creating jobs for boatbuilders, welders, shipwrights, grocery stores, fishmongers, carpenters; putting crew through university; and creating benefits for restaurants and many other businesses. Outside of those economic gains that would come from this, I want to be a part of the community again where fishermen are volunteering for school programs and trips, coaching sports and having cook-offs for charity. When we take care of our communities, they will take care of us. When salmon enhancement and creek monitoring are cut back, everyone has a stake, and we can make a measured approach because of it, and it is a public resource.
In the last two committee meetings you heard from people who have been at the helm of the situation as the value of B.C. fisheries fell while those of our neighbours to the north, south and east have surged. We heard the results of economic studies referred to as a myth, almost no acknowledgement of any problem from our own department in the Pacific. The Canadian Fishing Company stated that they have less fish and the lower supply means the prices are lower, and that they have a huge controlling stake in the fishery but somehow that doesn't mean they can control costs. The question was put to them around whether there's a formula or stake on the fish sold, and they said they don't have any magic formula around the margin. The sockeye price has been the same since the 1980s, so for me that raises a lot of red flags from pretty well basic economic principles.
You heard about many different types of licences, quota systems and management tools such as ITQs, but what you didn't hear about was ownership. Management tools were put in place to manage fisheries, not dictate the economic outcomes, or at least not good ones. We can have these different licences and have harvesters own them.
Just for clarity, there's been a lot of talk about ITQs. The leasing inequality happens in many other fisheries, basically where there's any value in the fish.
I've been a certified operating captain for 13 years. I have owned, leased, bought and sold licences and boats over that time period. I am here because of the advantages I'm afforded coming from a fishing family. My dad owns multiple licences, including halibut quota. We recently partnered on a prawn boat together. Without these advantages, there is no way I would have made it this far.
When fishing, I'm under surveillance 24-7 by video monitoring systems that incorporate GPS tracking and different coding to detect if I may be violating licence conditions. That data is uploaded on the water to a third party, and I am audited for any possible violation.
I work in one of the most dangerous occupations in the country, trap fishing for Dungeness crab. Four years ago I nearly became a part of that statistic when my 19-foot crab boat sank in the middle of the night, and I was picked up off the beach by the Coast Guard.
Yet in B.C., if you want to own a licence, you don't have to risk your life. You don't have to be monitored by video camera. If you're a foreign owner, you might have to create a shell company. Somehow this piece of paper yields you 80% of the landed value, with no risk. Again, that piece of paper is a privilege given by the people of Canada. I understand the importance of processors and the jobs they create. We need to make sure that there is a secure future for processors and harvesters. There does not need to be a future for people on the couch leasing out the quota they own, only removing jobs, economies, food security and tax revenue from this country.
At the heart of this problem is a very simple cause: licensing policy with no consideration for cultural or socio-economic concerns. This led to consolidation of licences and concentration of ownership, seafood companies vertically integrated to control costs and secure supply. Specifically for the fishing industry, it gave them the control of the advisory board process—big surprise that fishermen became a cost and our incomes went down. As fishermen became more fractured and unorganized, we became marginal costs rather than a fixed or variable cost. Like any marginal cost in a vertically integrated economy, our share is going to near zero per cent.
However, the fishing industry in Canada is not like other industries. First of all, it's a public resource that belongs to the citizens of Canada. A licence is a privilege, something we are quite often reminded of whenever we face access issues. The management of these fisheries, the harbours that welcome us and the Coast Guard that keeps us safe, are paid for by Canadians. Why are we spending all this money and not seeing the benefit, letting profits go to just a few, more and more of whom are in another country? Why are we not keeping the spinoff economies in Canada, more seafood in Canada, higher landed value generating more taxes to pay back these investments Canadians have made?
I think it is also important to note that as bad as it is right now, it can get much worse. A large portion of our seafood is exported, and assuming that continues and we don't make regulatory changes, licences and quotas will also be exported.
In the first two hearings, this committee heard that the high cost of licences, and having to get a mortgage for that, is a barrier to entry. That is partially true, but the biggest issue is the low return on investment. No matter how big or small a debt load harvesters take on, they have to be able to service that debt.
We are not able to do this in most cases because we are competing against processors, large quota holders or foreign countries with a much lower threshold for return on investment than harvesters whose only revenue stream is fishing. Overcapitalization of our fisheries is a serious issue, but if only fish harvesters could buy licences, we would not have this problem.
A loan board for purchasing licences would only make the problem worse if returns on investment do not improve. However, if they do improve, it would be a great tool for us.
You also heard that overcapacity, conservation and safety were some of the main objectives with the evolution of licensing on the west coast. I do not believe the current licensing policy is achieving those objectives.
In any given year, I may fish herring, salmon, halibut, crab and spend over 200 days on the water. This is because I lease most of the licences I operate, and I see only a small percentage of the total profits. If I could own even one-third of those fisheries, I would reduce my capacity by over 60%, freeing up licences for other harvesters to do the same. This would have a domino effect, freeing up more licences as people fish less, people receiving a greater share of the fish they are catching, and at the same time alleviating some of these supposed overcapacity issues.
From a conservation standpoint, when people are at razor-thin margins and are most worried about making it from one year to the next, conservation priorities are very low compared to people who are able to plan the rest of their life.
The point of the study should be to look at what has actually happened from a conservation standpoint, not the theory or the hypothesis that the decision originated from.
As far as safety goes, I think the current regime continues to pose serious harm to harvesters, as well as increasing environmental impacts. Harvesters have very limited capital budgets and little of that can be spent on safety equipment or newer, cleaner technology.
The origin of these problems is simple; the problems it has created are immensely complex. It's overwhelming for someone like me, and I have lived in it my whole life. But the origin is simple and the solutions can be, too.
We need to put fishing licences back in the hands of fish harvesters. We need to let fishing economies benefit the communities we live in. We need to give Canadians the opportunity to buy the fish they are paying for to be managed. We need to transition in a way that lets people who are currently leasing plan for ownership, and not do any harm to people who have invested in good faith.
A few short-term goals that I believe are straightforward and concrete could be the following:
One, by the year 2022, licences or quota that are purchased must be operated by the person who purchases them. This is trickier on something like groundfish, where you may have to say, “You can value your halibut or the target species, but you can lease out the associated bycatch to meet conservation goals.”
Two, create a space for harvesters who are not licence holders to engage with DFO. We are the industry, not numbered companies. Currently this cannot be done through the current advisory board process.
Three, allow licences to be unmarried, to free up licences from the marketplace.
Long term, I believe the transition should be driven from principles and objectives harvesters agree upon, that is, active harvesters. We need to set a deadline of seven years, like PIIFCAF, for this transition to take place. It should also be noted that the current advisory board system cannot use this to address.... We heard that from the department's earlier meetings, and that will not work.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chair, and committee members. I would like to thank you very much for granting me the opportunity to speak to you today. It's a long way from the fishing grounds in B.C. to here, and it means a lot to be able to speak to you, our elected representatives, so thank you for that.
My name is Fraser MacDonald. I'm a first-generation fisherman from Vancouver Island. I'm 32 years old, and I have been commercial fishing for 14 years. I own two small commercial fishing vessels. I participate in three to four fisheries each season, and I own no licences. I lease everything that I fish.
Today I will tell you about my personal experience within B.C.'s commercial fishing industry and specifically my experience with relying on the lease market. I will describe how the current and past fishing policies have created roadblocks for me and other young fishers or people trying to grow within the industry.
Without a doubt the licensing policies that were introduced in B.C. over the past 25 years have helped stabilize and improve management and sustainability—and safety, to some extent—in the fisheries. The benefits have increased the market value of our common resource and have made B.C. a world leader in management. Simultaneously, though, these policies have attached a value to access. This is something that should never have been allowed to be valuated, bought, sold or invested in from the start.
Quotas and licences should never have been opened up to free market, but they were. Now the licence and quota markets more closely resemble a speculative stock market than a fisheries management tool. The implementation of this system created winners and losers then and today. Some lost out and left the industry or were priced out when ITQs were introduced. Others were initially gifted ITQ allotments and limited-entry licences that have valued to the point where they are worth millions of dollars.
B.C.'s access to harvest fish was privatized and profited from. This privatization of access has created insurmountable entry costs and what I will call a lost generation of fishers. I have watched this take place within my own group of friends. Ten years ago, in 2008, there were 15 to 20 men and women from my close network of friends where I grew up who actively commercial fished. In 2018, there were three of us left from this group. My friends chose to leave the commercial fishing industry, often reluctantly, for other careers because they could not see a stable and profitable future for themselves. Buying a boat and licence package was financially unrealistic due to the high cost and lack of access to capital for young people. This exodus has caused a serious labour shortage for crew and is foreshadowing a successional crisis that we will soon face as the current generation of fishermen ages out and needs to retire.
In 2011, after a couple of seasons of working as a hired skipper, I realized that I needed to increase my earnings if I wanted to make a decent living and stay in the fishery. Buying a vessel would increase my share of the catch's revenue, so I started looking for a boat. The price of a prawn licence for the boat that I bought in 2012 was $750,000, putting the boat and licence package at almost $1 million. As the licences were out of my price range, I would rely on the lease market to secure my access. I used equity from my home to get a loan for $200,000 from a federal government-funded loans program, and I got a boat.
In 2012, when I bought the boat, it happened to coincide with the full implementation of PICFI. I do agree with the stated objectives of PICFI, but from my experience and as the committee heard yesterday from Chris Cook, PICFI's stated objectives have not been achieved. By implementing PICFI the way it did, DFO actually created a lot of negative effects in many fisheries through the lease market and by driving up costs as well. For time's sake, I won't get too much into that, but I'm going to submit a written summary of my experience with PICFI to the committee.
My biggest obstacle as a boat owner was securing access to leasable licences. I had to convince fish buyers to take a chance on someone new and young, guaranteeing them my product if they would cover the lease costs up front for me. Paying a lease up front is a condition demanded by almost all lessors, and I learned quickly that banks aren't too keen on approving $50,000 lines of operating credit for 26-year-old seasonal business owners, regardless of equity or a co-signer. I learned the hard way that if you don't come from an established fishing family on our coast, entering the industry without a licence is nearly impossible. The uncertainty of access each year was very stressful and made growing a business extremely challenging. It was only because of stubborn optimism that I managed to keep my fishing business moving forward. My challenges were witnessed by many of my close friends and reinforced their lack of faith in the licensing system.
In 2017, I bought my second boat, a 40-foot fibreglass freezer troller capable of fishing multiple fisheries. This boat's versatility meant that if one fishery was poor during the year, I could rely on income from the other fisheries and still put a year together. With my previous lessons learned, I was not about to go buy another boat without making sure I had secure access to licences. An offer was made to me by a processing company to form a partnership, and after some negotiation, we came to an agreement and I bought that boat.
This arrangement meant that I had purchase financing, access to the buyer's pool of licences and quota, and access to operating credit, if needed. In return, the company will maintain a minority stake in my boat indefinitely and have first access to my product as long as it is willing to pay market value. I will say that the company's partnership offer was very forward-thinking, and it has been mutually beneficial.
I'm happy with how things are going in this particular case, but this is not a solution to our licensing problem on the coast. This is only available to a very small number of people. When I speak to people who have joint ventures with other companies, they don't speak very highly of their situation.
As has been previously explained, halibut ITQ owners get paid up front each season for their quota before the season opens, usually by processors who have to secure quota to ensure their market share of the catch. As processors work on margins, their business is one of scale. The more quota they can secure in their pool, the more they can market and, theoretically, the more money they can make. This has turned most fish buyers on our coast into quota and licence brokers, which adds a huge financial and administrative burden to companies whose main objective is to buy fish, market it and process it. The current structure completely insulates quota owners from price fluctuations during the season, and leaves 100% of the risks on fishermen and fish buyers.
I had an experience in 2017 fishing leased halibut quota that illustrates how the current system is out of balance. In April 2017, I leased 32,000 pounds of halibut quota from a buyer for $7.50 a pound. This was the going lease rate at the time, and the landed value for halibut had been between $9 and $10 for the past two seasons, so we estimated that we would be able to get $2 of gross profit to the boat after paying our lease. By August, the landed price had fallen to $7.50, so we were waiting until the end of the season, hoping the price would come up a little bit so we could make a small profit to pay for the expenses. However, the price did come up a little bit, and there was a small margin, but because I had to wait so late in the season for the price to come up, we had only a few days of fishable time due to weather, and I wasn't able to land all of my quota that I'd leased. Luckily, I was able to carry over the additional 16,000 pounds of quota that I didn't land until the 2018 season.
When the season opened in March, a few months later, I went back out to the grounds to catch this last 16,000 pounds of quota, but the market price had fallen to $7.50. We had to go fishing because the buyer had leased this fish 12 months before and had already paid $124,000 to that quota owner, so I couldn't not go. I had to go so they could recoup their costs. We went out and we landed the fish for a net gain of nothing to me, and I actually borrowed $30,000 from the buyer who leased the fish for me so I could pay the trip expenses and pay my crew fair wages, because they did the work and they deserved to get paid.
The two quota owners I leased from in 2017 both got cheques for $120,000 for their quota. My crew and I spent a month on the water and landed over a quarter million dollars' worth of fish, and I finished $30,000 further behind where I started, not including the $50,000 in capital expenditure to rig my boat up to long-line that fall.
Going fishing and losing money on a trip is very much a reality in this business, and I accept that financial risk every time I leave the dock, but it's a lot easier to accept a loss when the landed value of the fish simply doesn't cover the trip's expenses. In this case the landed value was substantial, but my crew and I just weren't in on the take.
One point I'm sure all stakeholders can agree on is that if we continue operating the way we are now, eventually we will not have enough active fishermen left to sustain the harvest requirements of our industry. Fishing is both a trade and an art. It takes years of experience on the water to master, which means we need to start reforming licensing policy now to avoid a critical labour shortage in the near future. It's essential that the recommendations from this study aim to solve the problems we face today, and not just put a Band-Aid on their symptoms. We need urgent action with set timelines for industry and DFO to introduce balance to the leasing market and ensure fair distribution of wealth from the landed value of our fish. A one-size-fits-all policy won't work, as was mentioned by our previous guests. It needs to be done fishery by fishery, but it needs to happen quickly. Any delays or strategies from the corporate side of things, I believe, would be extremely short-sighted, and I hope we can all work together to find a solution that benefits the industry.
Looking at the long term, we need to find common ground and look at where we need to be 10 years from now as an industry, and then design and implement well-thought-out specific policies that will get us there. I see a sustainable fishing industry in B.C.'s future being made up of fishermen and fish processors. The timelines for the industry's future must allow sufficient time for investors and retiring fishermen to divest and retire with dignity. The fishing industry is tight knit and many of the retired investor fishermen are still mentors and close friends to active fishers.
In conclusion, I think there's recognition here that our system is not working as it was intended to, and I think it's crucial that we seize this opportunity to transition our industry into a brighter future.
Thank you very much for listening to my experiences today, and I'm sorry if I went long.
Hi, I'm Ross Antilla. I'm from Pender Harbour, and I'm a fourth-generation fish harvester.
I'd like to bring your attention to licence marriages and the negative impact they have on all fish harvesters.
Licence marriages make licences more difficult to buy and sell, because you have to buy or sell them as a block of licences. It is difficult to try to purchase a single licence, and most times you have to buy the licence you want with a separate unwanted licence attached to it. This pushes the cost of the licence you are trying to purchase out of reach for most young fish harvesters, which forces them to lease from someone else. Even if you own a licence and you want to expand and grow your business and buy another, most likely the other licence will marry to your existing licence and it will be irreversible.
I truly hope the committee will review the policy on licence marriages and allow them to be divorced to make it easier for fish harvesters to be able to afford to buy the licence they want, without others attached as a block, and to help us avoid leasing a licence from someone else.
Leasing is the second point I would like to bring to the committee's attention, and how it has changed to the state it is currently in.
Leasing started out as a way for people to cover their own catches that they had gone over on and borrow from someone else who still had remaining quota to catch, and it was cheap and affordable. Leasing nowadays exploits a fish harvester's primary source of income to benefit the licence-holder's investment portfolio.
Using the halibut fishery as an example, licence-holders make 80% of the profits of fishing while the fish harvester has to use 20% to pay all expenses, including licence fees, camera fees and crew, and somehow after all that, make a living.
Most of the time the company holds the quota, which means you are forced to sell to them at their prices, deliver to their specific ports and fish the areas they want you to fish, which is effectively taking away your freedom as a fisher. If you don't fish their quota, you might not get to fish at all next year.
Most members on the fishery advisory boards to DFO are licence-holders, and as such have made decisions in the best interests of licence-holders. This has created a slave-like environment for young fish harvesters in the industry.
I would advise the committee to review the licensing policy of the west coast fisheries and alter leasing for the benefit of our endangered coastal fishing communities.
Thank you for the invitation to be here today and for the opportunity to speak to you about west coast fisheries. Also, thank you to my co-panellists and the panellists earlier. It's really a delight to be speaking among so many fish harvesters.
I have been researching fisheries, aquaculture and coastal communities in British Columbia for 14 years, and I've been studying commercial fisheries licensing for the last two, specifically. This work informs the remarks I am going to make today. I have divided the remarks into three main points and then three takeaways for your study.
The first main point is that, as you've been hearing, the total number of licences and the total amount of quota for all major Canadian Pacific fisheries are limited. For all major fisheries, they can be exchanged among holders through market transaction.
What this means in practice is that fish harvesting operations can register and hold numerous licences. In turn, they can participate in a range of fisheries or earn revenue by leasing out some or all of their licences and quota. Conversely, there are those that hold a single licence, a small number of licences or none at all that are access constrained. Their choices are to fish part-time or to lease additional licences and/or quota.
Licences and quota are very expensive. Estimates produced for DFO suggest as of 2016 that licences sell for tens of thousands of dollars—for example, the AG licence for salmon is over $64,000—to hundreds of thousands of dollars—for example, the W licence for prawn is over $770,000. One type, the G licence for geoduck, is estimated to exchange at $6.1 million.
My current research has counted exactly how many licences and licence-holders there were in the 2017 calendar year. We have found that there were 6,563 Canadian Pacific commercial fishing licences and 2,377 unique licence-holders. There are more licences than holders, and as I bet you would guess at this stage, distribution is not even. Our research shows that there were 38 licence-holders who registered 20 or more commercial licences. Of these 38, there were six that registered more than 50 licences. Conversely, there were 1,357 licence-holders that registered only one licence and 499 that registered two.
Mine is the first study that I'm aware of to look at licence holdings across all fisheries. It builds on a couple of other studies that have looked into the distribution of licences in salmon and herring, specifically. This is a body of growing research that shows a large number of access-constrained harvesters in the west coast fisheries. You have heard first-hand today and in previous meetings about the conditions they face and about the economic constraints related to leasing from those with larger licence and quota portfolios.
The second main point is that in the global context, transnational firms and investors show interest in securing licences and quota and investing in or taking over fishing companies. A recent study by Swedish researchers found that 13 corporations control 11% to 16% of the global marine catch and 19% to 40% of the largest and most valuable stocks.
ln the Canadian context, anecdotal reports—some which we've heard today—and recent investigative journalism suggest that there have been instances of foreign investors buying or providing loans for licences, quota and/or vessels in B.C. In my research, I have been looking for evidence of foreign investment in west coast fisheries. I've been searching mainly publicly available information, media reports and the Transport Canada vessel registry. Being confined to publicly available information makes it very challenging to discern the extent to which this may be occurring in Canadian Pacific fisheries, and indeed, to predict what may happen in the future. Given that Canada's fish stocks are a public resource, I would argue that monitoring foreign and speculative investment is crucial to transparency and falls within the purview of fisheries management.
The third main point is that Pacific licence holdings, leasing arrangements and other types of economic arrangements related to licences and quota are not monitored or systematically reported and are not currently considered in fisheries evaluation.
This is noteworthy in the context of your west coast study. Policy in the Atlantic region regulates against leasing, loans and other economic relationships in some fisheries between inshore licence-holders and processors or other investors. Sometimes you will hear these referred to as controlling agreements; under some conditions, they are not permitted or they're tightly regulated.
You may also wish to note that the licence-holder identification data that I've used in my study to count west coast licences and licence holdings did come from a publicly available spreadsheet maintained by DFO Pacific. While it can be freely downloaded, this spreadsheet is hundreds of thousands of rows long. The process that we used to count licence-holders across types involved developing computer code that automatically extracted and matched identifying information. Put simply, the basic information is available but unless you have two years and are willing to learn computer code, it's not highly accessible in a general sense.
These points lead me to suggest that while DFO Pacific is making strides on fisheries science becoming more transparent and oriented toward ecosystem dimensions, comparable efforts are needed to make allocation and fisheries evaluation similarly transparent and oriented to human dimensions.
Now I'd like to offer three takeaways for your study. I have chosen these with special attention to your stated interest in "evaluating the distribution of economic benefits generated by the industry and the aspirations of fishers and their communities".
The first key takeaway is that the concern expressed by independent harvesters, new entrants and next generation harvesters about their future in Pacific fisheries is unquestionably tied to the limited availability and high cost of key licences and quota. To put this into perspective once again, consider estimates that put the aggregate market value of all licence holdings across fisheries in 2016 at just over $956 million and the aggregate market value of quota at just over $1.1 billion. The impressive nature of these figures and daunting questions about whether access rights to a public resource should be commoditized to such a degree and exchanged through market transactions that are largely unregulated at this point in time are, in my opinion, at the crux of your study.
The second key takeaway is that, given the lucrative value of licences and quota, the federal government should not ignore the potential for foreign and speculative investment in fisheries off of all three of our coasts. Questions about how and under what conditions, if it's going to be permitted at all, and the ways it should be reported and monitored are especially crucial. DFO should be tracking leasing, sales and other transactions because, as I mentioned earlier, this is a highly valuable public resource.
The third takeaway is that there are programs and policy options that could be tailored for the west coast, as we have been discussing. There are programs that have been pursued elsewhere, such as licence and quota banks and youth permits that could be developed to support and expand access for independent harvesters, new entrants and young harvesters. Moreover, there are policy options that have been pursued elsewhere, such as fleet separation requirements and mandatory reporting of leasing and controlling agreements that would improve transparency and could be monitored and evaluated in pursuit of social and local economic objectives in Pacific fisheries.
To conclude, I'd like to thank you again for the invitation to be here. I really want to congratulate you for this study. It is an important time in the west coast fisheries, and careful attention to licensing and quota can help to better balance objectives for what is a very important public resource.