Canada to close 60% of commercial salmon fisheries

Authorities shut down commercial fisheries saying “many runs on the verge of collapse”.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Canadian federal government announced significant commercial salmon closures for the 2021 season.

The DFO said that closures will have an economic impact on harvesters. Minister of Fisheries Bernadette Jordan also announced the Pacific Salmon Commercial Transition Program.

“This voluntary salmon licence retirement program will provide harvesters with the option to retire their licences for fair market value and will facilitate the transition to a smaller commercial harvesting sector,” she said.

The Federal government announced in April that it had set aside CAD 647.1 million (EUR 429 million) “stabilise and conserve wild salmon populations”. The previous year’s federal investment was CAD 246 million (EUR 163 million).

“What cannot be debated is that most wild Pacific salmon stocks continue to decline at unprecedented rates – we are pulling the emergency brake to give these salmon populations the best chance at survival. The decisions to implement new long-term closures and permanently remove the effort from the commercial salmon fishery were not easy, as they impact people, communities, and livelihoods,” said Jordan.

The United Fishermen & Allied Workers’ Union said the closure of 79 salmon fisheries has left them “worried” about the future of commercial operations.

“Today’s closure announcements are deeply concerning,” said UFAWU-Unifor business agent Emily Orr in a statement to the Star.

“The abruptness of the announcement, and lack of transparency for how these specific closures were decided, have blindsided harvesters,” added Orr.


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