Canadian Fishermen Ask Federal Candidates Where They Stand on the Fishery

One of Canada’s fishermen’s organizations wants candidates in all coastal ridings to say where they stand when it comes to fishing communities and who should control commercial fishing licences.

In a survey, distributed yesterday, the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters’ Federation asked candidates in Quebec and Atlantic Canada if they are prepared to put fishery regulations rules into place that restrict the control of fishing licences in Atlantic Canada and Quebec to owner-operators.

Candidates in B.C. ridings are being asked whether they support having fishing licenses and quotas held primarily by those who fish and prevent them from becoming a speculative asset.

“Fishermen’s organizations across the country are of one mind that the benefits of holding a commercial fishing licence and quota should go to the men and women who fish for a living and we believe it is time that this basic principle was embedded in our fisheries laws” Federation president Christian Brun said.

Brun said he was hopeful that all parties would respond positively to the survey.

“In the last couple of years we have seen a growing realization across party lines that the owner-operator fishery is the most sustainable form of fishing and the best way to ensure that money made from the fishery stays in fishing communities. Provincial governments understand this and so do the small rural municipalities that depend on these small family based businesses to support the local economy.”

Brun said that fishermen and their families represent a significant constituency in more than two dozen ridings and could make the difference in close contests.

The Federation intends to release the results of the poll prior to the October 19 election.