Chinnok license retirement programme announced in British Columbia

03 Jan 2012

The first round of a two-year, $28.5m license retirement programme has been launched by the Government of Canada.

The aim of the programme is to enhance the economic viability of the commercial chinook troll fishery off the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

“Our government is committed to sustainable and economically viable fisheries on the West Coast and across Canada,” said Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. “This license retirement program will help commercial fishermen and coastal communities manage the recent reduction in the total allowable harvest of chinook off the West Coast of Vancouver Island under the Pacific Salmon Treaty.”

The $30m mitigation strategy also includes an initiative to modernise the Department’s commercial salmon allocation framework and funds to support economic development on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. It is a key component of the chinook chapter of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST), which was renewed by Canada and the United States in December 2008. The mitigation program is designed to reduce effort in the commercial salmon troll fishery and to protect and conserve weak Canadian and US chinook stocks.

Application packages have been sent out to invite commercial salmon troll license holders to submit bids to the Department for the permanent retirement of their licenses. In the first round of the licence retirement program, the Department will accept bids from harvesters in the West Coast commercial troll fishery (Area G). A second round will be initiated in early March 2012 for all commercial troll licence holders (Areas F, G and H).

To ensure the bid evaluation process is fair and transparent, the Department has engaged an independent consultant to establish a fair market value for troll licences in the fishery. It has also held extensive consultations with commercial fish harvesters, stakeholders and First Nations on the mitigation program and licence retirement strategy.

Experts from both countries believe the harvest reductions implemented under the PST will result in significant benefits for chinook stocks originating in and co-migrating through the waters of Canada and the US.

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