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Halibut season opens March 1st

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 http://tinyurl.com/halibut2012]

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.

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