Who we are
We are a network of Indigenous and non-Indigenous fish harvesters, small businesses, community organizations, chefs, fishing families, First Nations, and leaders in coastal communities who are deeply concerned about the future of our seafood system and fisheries-dependent communities on the West Coast of Canada.
Like you, we love local, wild, sustainable seafood, but our local access to seafood is disappearing. Decades ago, fisheries policy changed on the West Coast. DFO privatized fishing access rights, making fishing licences and quota available on the open market to the highest bidder. Since then, BC fish harvesters, First Nations, and coastal communities have struggled to continue their way of life, unable to compete with corporate and global interests in the fishery. Fishing and processing jobs have declined and disappeared. Approximately 85% of Canadian caught seafood is exported, while we import 63% of our seafood. This system contributes to more greenhouse gas emissions and disempowers small-scale fish harvesters who also care about the health and future of the fishery and our ocean.
Give fishing access back to fish harvesters, First Nations, and coastal communities. It’s simple. Only First Nations and people who work on fishing boats should be able to own a licence and quota. The new government can create a policy that phases out big business, investor, and non-domestic ownership of fishing licences and quota. By doing so we support local fish harvesters who will in turn support and feed their communities. We need to prioritize local food systems and livelihoods, rather than profits for speculative investors.
What can be done?
We need a commitment from the new government — including direction to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in their mandate letter — to create the policies necessary to enact this solution. We need a government that will support First Nations and coastal communities and stand up for local harvesters and food systems.