Local B.C. fishermen are working harder than ever while foreign investors cash in on their efforts.
That’s the message that Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP, Taylor Bachrach, recently delivered to Parliament in Ottawa.
“Commercial fishing licences shouldn’t be treated like a private stock market controlled by big corporations,” Bachrach said in a video of his remarks on Facebook. “The maximum value of the fish that get caught should go to the people that do the work, and B.C.’s catch should be processed in B.C. communities.”
But under the current licensing system the fishermen who actually do the hard work are not getting a fair share of the benefits, he said.
“In 2015 for example,” the Northern View reports, quotas for halibut “were leased out for $7-9/lb when the actual price of the fish was $8.25-9.50/lb. This means that owners took over 85 per cent of the total value, leaving fishermen with incredibly small profits to pay their crews, maintain their ships and buy supplies.”
The federal Liberal government knows this system of foreign ownership is deeply flawed.
Back in 2019, the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans made 20 recommendations to ensure more fishing wealth stays in the hands of local families and communities.
“The system in B.C. has evolved in such a way that small independent fishermen in B.C. have become the modern-day equivalent of sharecroppers, in which they have to pay the owners of the quota for the right to fish,” Vancouver Is Awesome reported at the time.
“We’ve created a modern-day feudal system,” Liberal MP Ken Hardie said.
But years have passed and the Liberals appear to be ignoring those recommendations, Bachrach recently argued.
“This government hasn’t implemented a single one of them,” he said.