Archive for February, 2012

Halibut opening offically March 1st

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

A press release yesterday from Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirmed that the halibut fishing season will open March 1st this year.  The recreational share of the total allowable catch has also increased from the historic 12% to 15%.  Retention is still one halibut per day, two possession, but hopefully this means halibut fishing opportunities will remain open through summer.

Get ready, halibut fishing will be coming soon to Port Renfrew and Swiftsure Bank, woo hoo!

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Greater Certainty in the Pacific Halibut Fishery

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – Feb. 17, 2012) - The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, made an announcement today that will provide greater long-term certainty to the Pacific halibut fishery.

“Our government is making good on a commitment to provide greater long-term certainty in the Pacific halibut fishery for First Nations, commercial and recreational harvesters, and, most importantly encouraging jobs and economic growth in British Columbia,” said Minister Ashfield.

Based on a thorough review process conducted by Parliamentary Secretary Randy Kamp involving First Nations, commercial and recreational sectors, and the province of British Columbia, the Minister has instructed the Department to make an immediate correction in the allocation formula for the Pacific halibut fishery. Under the new formula, 85% of the resource will be allocated to the commercial sector and 15% to the recreational sector.

“I want to express my appreciation for Randy Kamp’s dedication to finding a solution that strikes a fair balance between the sectors and establishes a stable environment for the future,” added Minister Ashfield.

The experimental licence introduced last year, which allowed recreational harvesters to lease Pacific halibut quota from commercial harvesters based on market value, will continue to be available. Improvements to the program will be made, reflecting feedback received from 2011 participants. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will move forward with regulatory changes to continue this market-based transfer mechanism for the long term.

The 2012 Pacific halibut recreational fishing season will open March 1st. Recreational anglers with a tidal water licence will be able to catch one halibut per day with two in possession. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to work with recreational community representatives to identify monitoring and management measures that will provide greatest flexibility and season length while staying within their allocation.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to work with First Nations to ensure priority access for Food, Social and Ceremonial purposes, and to engage First Nations in pursuing opportunities for commercial access to halibut through existing aboriginal programs.

All participants and sectors have a shared responsibility for the conservation, stewardship and careful harvest of Pacific halibut and this will continue to be a priority for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Port Renfrew’s Avatar Grove protected

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Not fishing news, but definitely of interest to Port Renfrew visitors.  Congrats to Ken Wu and TJ Watt for all their hard work!

Avatar Grove to be protected by province

By Judith Lavoie, February 16, 2012

A grove of giant, old-growth trees near Port Renfrew, which has brought thousands of visitors to the area over the last two years, will be protected by the province.

Avatar Grove, a unique stand of centuries-old Douglas firs and red cedars, will be included in an expanded, 59-hectare old-growth management area, Forests Minister Steve Thomson said Thursday.

That means no logging or mining, but is one step short of the legislated protection of park designation.

Surrey-based Teal-Jones Group, which holds logging rights for the area around Avatar Grove, is being compensated with 57 hectares removed from other old-growth management areas.

Much of Avatar Grove, named after the movie, was slated for logging two years ago when the Ancient Forest Alliance started campaigning for its protection.

At that time only 24 per cent of the grove was included in an old-growth management area.

Ken Wu, Ancient Forest Alliance co-founder, applauded the move by the province, but said all old-growth forests on Vancouver Island should be protected.

“We do commend the B.C. government for protecting this tract of extremely rare old-growth valley bottom, as 95 per cent (of that ecosystem) has already been logged on Vancouver Island,” he said.

The Alliance wants to see an end to all old-growth logging on Vancouver Island and a sustainable second-growth forestry industry.

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
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Halibut season opens March 1st

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Hindsight Fishing halibut catch

Sports Fishing Institute announces BC halibut season opening March 1st. DFO to make it official next week. Game on! (soon)

[reposted from here]

Rob Alcock, Martin Paish and Marilyn Scanlan met with Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and his key staff today in an 11th hour discussion regarding a new halibut allocation policy.

At the onset of the session we learned that the Minister has indeed been presented with a suite of options as potential solutions from the Randy Kamp process and that Minister Ashfield was looking to understand more clearly the primary interests of our industry and the key elements that are important to us. The Minister would not reveal the “options” but his staff assured us that all options are on the table.

After a brief overview of the industry profile, we clearly identified the need for “Stability and Certainty” in our sector referring to the need for a full season February 1 to December 31. We explained (as we have to all of his staff in prior meetings) what drives our sector and the pre planning involved with the consumer buying process. We also amplified the value of the early and late season halibut fishery as well as no ability to tolerate or recover from “in season closures”.

We reiterated the quality of fishery and its associated bag/possession limits required to keep the industry viable and profitable. Time was also well spent on discussing the failures of the experimental recreational quota fishery and why a private market quota system doesn’t work for the public fishery or its service providers.

The “Fixed Number” solution ratified by the SFAB is the solution we raised (again) and discussed in detail with him. We believe the Minister understood our message and the drivers behind it.

Our team turned a twenty minute opportunity into a fourty five minute clear and concise conversation on what didn’t work and why, and what will work. It was clear to us that there were some elements that he and his eastern staff did not fully understand prior to our conversation, but we assure you we fixed that.

Minister Ashfield informed us that the 2012 Halibut Season will open on March 1 and indicated that an announcement regarding the new policy could be made as soon as early next week.

In these final hours it is not too late for you to make a difference. We urge you to call your local MP and B.C. Caucus reminding them how important the recreational fishery is to you and the province of B.C.

As always we will keep you posted and let you know as soon as we here on the new policy.