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FOPO Committee Report

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As a result of their deliberations committees may make recommendations which they include in their reports for the consideration of the House of Commons or the Government. Recommendations related to this study are listed below.

Recommendation 1

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada maintain the limited transferability for non-directed catch, which is a widely supported system for ensuring that non-targeted groundfish that is caught can be sold and tracked for conservation purposes.

Recommendation 2

That based on the principle that fish in Canadian waters are a resource for Canadians (i.e. common property), no future sales of fishing quota and/or licences be to non‑Canadian beneficial owners based on the consideration of issues of legal authority, and international agreement/trade impacts.

Recommendation 3

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada permit the separation of stacked (or “married”) licences for sale by the licence owner to divest some or all of their licences in the sole intent of facilitating existing harvesters and new entrants to become owner-operators.

Recommendation 4

That, to increase the transparency of quota licence ownership and transactions, Fisheries and Oceans Canada determine and publish, in an easily accessible and readable format, a public online database that includes the following:

  • The beneficial holder of all fishing quota and licences in British Columbia, including penalties for failing to accurately disclose the holder of fishing quota and/or licences, and that Fisheries and Oceans Canada work with Finance Canada to achieve this goal.
  • All sales or leasing of quota and licence holdings be reported and made public by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, including buyer, seller and sale/leasing price.

Recommendation 5

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada prioritize the collection of socio-economic data for past and future regulatory changes and make this information publicly available.

Recommendation 6

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada develop a comparative analysis of the East Coast and West Coast fisheries in regard to regulations with a view to devising policy that would level the playing field for independent British Columbian fishers.

Recommendation 7

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada undertake discussions with the Province of British Columbia to explore the establishment of a model for a loan board to support harvesters’ intent on purchasing and/or quota, to maintain or modernize existing vessels or to purchase new ones.

Recommendation 8

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada, with regard to West Coast commercial fisheries, provide financial incentives to independent ownership of licences and quota vs. corporate, overseas or absentee ownership. This could include: tax incentives; a shared risks and benefits program; and/or the creation of community licence and quota banks.

Recommendation 9

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada create a loan and mentorship program to help independent harvesters enter the industry.

Recommendation 10

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada work with the Government of British Columbia to develop strategies to expand value-added fish processing in British Columbia and the recapture of benefits from processing in adjacent communities.

Recommendation 11

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada, with regard to West Coast commercial fisheries, establish an open public auction process to allow fishers to lease licence and quota.

Recommendation 12

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada, with regard to West Coast commercial fisheries, establish a licence exchange board to allow the trading of licences between owners.

Recommendation 13

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada reconstitute the membership of advisory boards to ensure equitable representation by fishers, processors and quota owners.

Recommendation 14

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada develop a new policy framework through a process of authentic and transparent engagement with all key stakeholders:

  • Active fish harvesters (or where they exist, organizations that represent them) in all fisheries and fleets including owner-operators, non-owner-operators, and crew;
  • First Nations commercial fish harvesters (or where they exist, organizations that represent them);
  • Organizations representing licence and quota holders that are not active fish harvesters, including fish processing companies;
  • Organizations representing First Nations that hold licences and quotas for commercial fisheries;
  • The Minister responsible for fisheries in the British Columbia government;
  • Fisheries policy experts from academic institutions and non-governmental organizations; and
  • Representatives of municipal governments and socio-economic development, health and cultural agencies in coastal communities.

Recommendation 15

That, with regard to West Coast commercial fisheries, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans establish an independent commission to:

  • Develop a concept for a ‘fair-share’ system to equitably allocate the proceeds from the fishery of individual species between the quota/licence holder, the processor and the harvester, based on the average wholesale price earned by the processor over a three‑month period.
  • Work with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to explore the feasibility of set limits on the amount of quota or number of licences for an individual species that can be owned by an individual or entity and ensure that comprehensive consultations are undertaken.
  • Devise a policy of current market buy back from fishers looking to exit the industry and to prioritize that quota and licence sale to emerging young or independent fishers through a student/mentorship/apprenticeship program as has been done successfully in other regions for the country and other jurisdictions (Maine, Alaska, Norway) who have testified before this committee.
  • Prepare a concept through comprehensive consultations that could transition the West Coast fishery to a “made-in-BC” owner-operator model.

Recommendation 16

That the development of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new policy framework should be undertaken by a working group chaired by a senior National Headquarters official and comprised of appropriate officials from National Headquarters and Pacific Region.

Recommendation 17

That the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans direct the Department to develop an implementation framework for transition with time limits and phased approaches similar to the Policy for Preserving the Independence of the Inshore Fleet in Canada’s Atlantic Fisheries (PIIFCAF), but appropriate to particular fleets and/or fisheries.

Recommendation 18

That transition strategies should take account of the recommendations, needs, rights and capacities of First Nations and the framework for reconciliation.

Recommendation 19

That the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans initiate immediate steps to regulate quota licence leasing costs to allow for a fair return for vessel owners and adequate incomes for fish harvesters during the transition to owner-operator. Such measures should continue after transition to guarantee crews fair wages under the new regime.

Recommendation 20

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada develop a plan to achieve its five-objective fisheries management regime, which includes conservation outcomes: compliance with legal obligations; promoting the stability and economic viability of fishing operations; encouraging the equitable distribution of benefits; and facilitating data collection for administration, enforcement and planning purposes.