The UFAWU supports the principle that working fishermen, not slipper skippers, should benefit from the value of their catch. The Union supports the owner/operator concept.
The Union believes that there are alternate policies that can make fishing work for working fishermen. Union members are engaged in finding practical alternatives in their different fisheries. No one policy will work in all fisheries.
Fishermen’s costs escalate to keep pace with DFO’s re-allocations. The consequence is that fewer and fewer fishermen are left and the ones that survive are bearing a huge capital debt.
Sustainable Communities: Fisheries Policies
The UFAWU-Unifor works vigorously for management policies that will sustain communities as well as fish stocks.
Fishermen need fisheries that are stable. Continuous re-allocations
to other sectors make commercial fishing unviable.
Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries Monitoring, Enforcement, Traceability
The Union is very concerned with DFO’s withdrawal from enforcement. Increasingly, the responsibility and cost are carried by fishermen. They regularly pay for Plant Monitors, At-Sea Observers, Cameras and Log Books. Vessel Monitoring Systems electronically track the fishing boat during the whole fishing season.
Fisheries patrol officers and charter patrolmen were not only on the grounds to monitor the fleet, enforce the rules, and count effort, they also helped in emergencies, rescued injured fishers and settled disputes. Fisheries patrol officers also counted spawning salmon to determine escapements.
The UFAWU is working with fishermen to find the least expensive way to ensure there is adequate monitoring of fishing effort and catch and, when there is a market advantage, to trace the product from the harvester to the consumer.
Sustainable Communities :
Tendermen and Shoreworkers
UFAWU-Unifor knows that for coastal communities to be sustainable, fish that is caught in BC should be processed in BC, not in the U.S. or China. It makes no sense to ship our raw products off -shore when we can do the work here.
The principle of adjacency should apply to ensure that fish is also processed in the communities in the area of the fishery.
Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries
selective harvests and live releases
The UFAWU has worked with fishermen, scientists and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to develop effective ways to reduce bycatch and to effectively revive and release non-retained species.
Fishermen have always used gear design to help harvest target fish and avoid non-target species.
Gillnetters control catch with net design. They use different sized meshes or different depth or length of net or more or less webbing to direct harvest on one species of fish and avoid another. They use revival boxes with a plumbed water flow that provides aeroated water to revive a distressed non-target fish for release.
Trollers control their harvests with gear depth, speed and colour and type of lure. They use different sized barbless hooks that retain the target fish and easily release inadvertent bycatch.
Seine vessels use net depth and escape grids to avoid non target fish and and brailing and revival box techniques to release any incidental catch.
Shrimp trawlers have shaped their nets for avoidance and use extruders to allow non-target specie to escape as do some groundfish trawlers.
Trap fisheries such as sablefish, rockfish, prawn, shrimp and crab use trap escape holes for smaller bycatch and ‘rot cord’ to render a lost trap ineffective.
Some fisheries keep their catch alive for the ‘live market’.
Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries
Commercial fisheries are managed
conservatively in BC.
No fishery in BC can harvest indiscriminately.
Commercial fisheries harvest an allowed catch which is either a number, a weight or a percentage of the run.
The few that don’t fish to an allowed catch are managed by area and time or by biological factors such as soft shells in the crab fishery.
The Union works with scientists and fisheries managers to determine the best models to use. Too great a catch, subsequent runs will suffer and future fisheries will be smaller. Too small a harvest, and besides economic hardship, there can be serious biological consequences.
DFO wants to solve this problem through
They want individual
fishermen to maintain
their individual fishery
at a stable level by
purchasing other fishermen’s quota, while at the same time, DFO shrinks the whole pie.
A sustainable commercial fishery sustains communities and fish stocks.
SUSTAINABILITY: People and their Communities
UFAWU comments to CEAA about Lelu Island LNG Fishery Impacts