Data loading...

Tuna Fishers In Canada Applaud Changes To Bluefin Fishery

Recently announced changes to the 2009 bluefin tuna fishery by federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea have received a thumbs-up from tuna fishermen around the region.

“This is definitely a positive move,” said Walter Bruce, chairman of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association tuna advisory committee.

“This change allows access to fishermen in all areas to a more fair and competitive fishery. It is something that P.E.I. and other Maritime fleets have sought for some years.”

The total Canadian quota for inshore fleets is 473 metric tons.

Of this, the 348-vessel P.E.I. tuna fleet has been allocated 30 per cent, or 138 metric tons.

As a result of the change in regulation, the tuna advisory committee has adjusted its season dates.

Aug. 3 has been set as opening date for a 40-metric-tonne allotment to be fished competitively by P.E.I. fishers, subject to DFO approval, with the balance to be caught starting Oct. 5.

“While much of the plan remains the same as last year, a key change is the elimination of quota transfers between Canadian fleets,” said Bruce.

“In recent years, fleets that did not catch their full quota were allowed to transfer the uncaught portion to another Canadian fleet, reportedly for a negotiated price. That practice will no longer be allowed. Rather than quota transfers, any uncaught tuna quota by Oct. 20 will be returned for redistribution to inshore fleets. This uncaught quota will be distributed on the basis of percentage shares to tuna fleets that each was allotted at the beginning of the season.”

“The practice of selling quota put the tuna fishery on the slippery slope of individual transferrable quotas, a method of privatizing the fishery,” said PEIFA president Ken Drake.