Fisheries reconciliation key to building conservation-based economy
“When I was a child, each of our villages had a fleet of small boats for families to fish and gather their food. Most of us men were also commercial fishermen on gillnetters, trollers or seine boats. Our villages were wealthy; we had good food for the table and decent incomes. But within two generations, we were displaced – kicked out. There are very few fishing vessels in our communities today, and I am one of only a handful of men who still fish commercially. In my lifetime, we have become poor in what is still a rich environment.”
– Arnold Clifton, Chief Councillor, Gitga’at Nation
It’s always hard to accept that you’re heading down the wrong path. Just ask fishery managers along the Atlantic Coast, who saw, within their lifetimes, the seemingly inexhaustible cod drastically reduced in numbers, and the eventual collapse of a fishery that was the foundation of coastal communities and economies. It was a case of taking too much, too often, with too little thought given to future generations.
Here on the West Coast, we’ve experienced our own fisheries collapse, too, as populations of salmon and other culturally and ecologically important species experience drastic reductions. […]