The commercial fishery has received a fundamental restructuring, not just a reduction in size and strength. Access to local resources is moving into fewer and fewer hands. Attempts to make fisheries safer, more cost effective and more secure for fishermen have not, by all accounts, achieved their goals.
The lack of clear social objectives with the introduction of catch shares stood out to us in our research causes us to question the root cause of their introduction. Regardless of the cause, however, our research proves that catch shares without clear social objectives, like BC’s ITQ system have deleterious effects across the board–making fishing more expensive, more complicated and less safe. It has also caused unemployment, reduced the number of entrants into this sector, and limited the financial viability of future generations of fishermen.
Our hope is that this data will spark interest and debate and will help decision-makers rethink the catch-share system when deciding the place that fishermen and coastal communities hold in BC’s future.