Fishery Debacle: Emails Reveal Deception By DFO
We went public this week by releasing our Access-to-Information request that has revealed deception by DFO following the 2015 Howe Sound seine fishery.
“DFO did the right thing by closing the fishery, but it is clear now that they shouldn’t have opened it in the first place,” said Aaron Hill of Watershed Watch. “What is really galling though, is how dishonest the Department’s managers were with us and the public about what happened out there.”
It appears that one vessel fished outside of the designated area, far exceeded the daily catch limit while doing so, and ran aground in the process. The grounded skipper then called in another vessel to help offload his catch, which put 3 vessels on the fishing grounds where only 2 were allowed. No enforcement officers were present during the fishery. Managers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada then proceeded to mislead the public, according to emails obtained by the Watershed Watch Salmon Society through an Access-to-Information request.
This scandal highlights a combination of problems that are essential to address for the future of harvest management in BC’s salmon fisheries. It is the culmination of an ad hoc evolution of fisheries management over the past several years, and sets a dangerous precedent for the future if the management approach that led to this scandal is allowed to continue.
The full ATIP file is available: (PDF)
Our Media Release & backgrounder is here
Media Coverage here: Stakeholders say memos show DFO ‘misled’ public over fishery closure