To the Editor,
I read with great interest your article Debate over halibut fishery heating up, Jan. 25.
You reported that Canada’s total allowable catch is split 88/12 between the commercial and recreational fisheries, and that this accounted respectively for catch values of $230 million and $550 million.
Hence, anglers want the split to change to 80/20.
Then James Lunney, Conservative MP for Nanaimo-Alberni, observed that if something isn’t changed, the recreational fishery is going to have a disastrous season, presumably because the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is contemplating an earlier closure to the recreational fishery to accommodate a decline in the total allowable catch from 13.2 million pounds in 2006 to 7.5 million pounds in 2010.
Lunney also commented that, “The resource is large enough to accommodate everybody.” I am not so sure about that.
I am at a loss as to why we are arguing over who gets what, when we are dealing with a fishery in decline and a history in Canada of near total fishery mismanagement.
We only have to look to the cod fishery on the east coast to understand that pretty soon, nobody will be fishing if this keeps up. Notwithstanding the excellent work by fisheries biologists, I still have no faith in us humans being able to actually manage nature.
I have even less faith in our politicians who merely want to please everyone for the sake of votes. Too many tales have come to light over the years where federal fisheries biologists were ignored or over-ruled, resulting in administrative quotas to mitigate the financial impact on respective fisheries.
When will we humans smarten up and recognize that we do not have the abilities or insight to adequately recognize our own limitations?
I say we drastically reduce everyone’s quotas untill we have restored the halibut fishery, and for that matter all other fisheries, to historic levels. History has shown that the demise of every civilization in the past has come about due to them having exhausted their natural resources.
Humans have demonstrated time and time again that we are far too arrogant and near sighted when it comes to our abilities to manage our natural resources.
Please, let us err on the side of extreme caution.