- CHP Canada will establish a total maximum tonnage taken from the ocean and thus implement a Total Allowable Catch to replace the current wasteful Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) system.
- CHP Canada will implement and monitor a period of time will be determined for the ocean to rest and replenish, allow no-harvest zones to be built into the fisheries conservation practices
- CHP Canada will reallocate harvesting rights to favour the small boat ‘hook and line’ sector, allow gillnets in designated areas, give priority and access to the traditional cod trap fishery of Newfoundland and Labrador.
- CHP Canada’s plan will give bonafide independent inshore fishermen the right to co-manage the fishery in a partnership with Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
- CHP Canada will establish an ‘independent’ (non-governmental ) local watchdog assigned to different areas and there will be total transparency with public finances.
- CHP Canada will ensure that adequate funding is always available to Department of Fisheries and Oceans for proper management control
The Christian Heritage Party will establish an Atlantic Groundfishery that works and one that finally includes a built-in conservation plan. Importantly, CHP Canada’s plan will give the fisheries back to those whose lives depend on them – the fishermen.
Mismanagement by the Canadian Government in dealing with competition within the Atlantic Cod fishery resulted in decades of overfishing. Tragically, the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) failed, in 1989, to live up to its mandate, as steward of our ocean’s resources by denying there was even a crisis. By the time the government decided to listen to their scientists – it was too late.
An entire web of support industries relied on the groundfishery, including boatbuilding and repair, fishing equipment manufacturing and supply, transportation and distribution of products and supplies, and a host of personal and business services ranging from legal to consulting work. The sweeping effects of the groundfishery collapse on families and industry were devastating.
CHP Canada will see that honesty is restored to the management of the groundfishery, will endeavour to put fishing communities back to work and have them co-manage the industry on which their livelihoods depend. CHP Canada’s plan will provide ecological sustainability of the resource and economic sustainability of coastal communities today and for many generations to come.
In point-form, below are the important steps that CHP Canada will implement to effectively re-establish sustainable fisheries and re-ignite the Atlantic fishing community’s energy and pride that have always been a part of our Canadian heritage.
CHP Canada will establish a total maximum tonnage taken from the ocean and thus implement a Total Allowable Catch to replace the current wasteful Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) system. This will remove the current ‘shopping lists’; fishermen will keep everything they catch and markets will be promoted for species considered less desirable. The groundfishery was the backbone of the Atlantic fisheries and, when the quotas were reduced, the ITQ’s were no longer sufficient to sustain families so many fishermen sold them to big companies. The ITQ system ultimately took control of the fisheries out of the hands of the fisherman and CHP Canada’s plan will give it back.
High Grading will be eliminated. There will be only one price for each species of fish, regardless of size, and prices will rise and fall depending on supply and demand. No cannery will be given an unfair advantage due to government subsidies and all licensed fishing boats will have equal access and equal opportunity. High Grading is responsible for smaller fish being thrown back (to die on the ocean floor) because the larger ones are priced higher per/kg.
CHP Canada will implement and monitor conservation measures; fishermen agree that the Fisheries Act never had any real groundfish conservation measures built into it. A period of time will be determined for the ocean to rest and replenish, ideally during the spawning seasons. For ground fish that will be approx. three to four months during the winter. Allow no-harvest zones to be built into the fisheries conservation practices in order to protect the spawning and nursery areas. CHP Canada’s plan will protect and restrict from fishing deep-water areas where it is believed that coral trees are destroyed by the big process draggers. The use of draggers will be discontinued. Funds from the federal government will cover the cost of retiring dragger licences for those who decide to leave the fishery via a onetime buy back offer. An equitable formula for their retirement will be established and consideration given to the loss of income opportunity
CHP Canada will reallocate harvesting rights to favour the small boat ‘hook and line’ sector. A CHP government will provide funding for those willing to convert their vessels to the more labour-intensive hook and line method. We will allow long liners, as the ground stocks increase, as long as the minimum size of hooks used and the number of hooks fished are rigidly enforced. We will allow gillnets, as the ground stocks increase, as long as the areas fished and the number of nets employed are restricted and rigidly enforced. We would restrict the use of gillnets on Georges Bank, the Bay of Fundy, or any area where strong tides occur because of the increased chance the gear may be lost. Nets will be attached to the vessel and made partially of biodegradable material. Finally, CHP Canada will give priority and access to the traditional cod trap fishery of Newfoundland and Labrador, when the northern cod stocks are sufficiently recovered. A larger size mesh of 89mm or greater will be required to minimize the amount of small fish taken.
CHP Canada’s plan will give bonafide independent inshore fishermen the right to co-manage the fishery in a partnership with DFO and they will be expected to live by the regulations they have worked together to develop. The plan will ensure that DFO provides technical advice to the co-management committee(s) on conservation-related matters, such as monitoring the biological condition of stocks, determining long-term sustainable yields for various fisheries and developing selective and environmentally-friendly fishing gear. We must ensure that feed-stocks are closely monitored and that the harvesting and processing of feed stocks is limited as necessary. The protection of feed stocks must be a crucial part of the recommended ecological approach to the fishery.
CHP Canada’s plan will investigate the formula for co-management as devised by the private sector in the paper titled “Managing the Atlantic Groundfishery, Formula for Change” (said to be: “consistent with the essential characteristics of an ideal fishery”, including provisions that the formula must be: “biologically and economically sustainable; easily monitored, controlled and enforced; and uses selective fishing gear that does not destroy bottom habitat.”
To ensure there is ongoing accountability, CHP Canada will establish an ‘independent’ (non-governmental ) local watchdog assigned to different areas and there will be total transparency with public finances. CHP Canada will see that stringent penalties are enforced under the Act for any type of manipulation, wilful misuse of privileges and/or illegal fishing. CHP Canada understands that much of the current management plan was established with inaccurate historical records, which resulted from years of falsifying what was actually caught by fishermen—both small operators and big companies were responsible. That is why the fluctuating quota set by DFO has achieved little.
The fisheries will need science for proper management control; therefore CHP Canada will ensure that adequate funding is always available to DFO for this purpose, and as per all funding it will be subject to regular budgetary review. CHP Canada would reduce the size and role of DFO in the management of the Atlantic fisheries each year until a proper balance is achieved. This will allow for reasonable cuts to be made; however care will be taken to ensure an adequate number of fisheries officers patrol the waters.
The ‘Made in Canada for Canada’ CHP plan was established by listening to the fishermen whose livelihoods and those of their grandchildren will depend on it.