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 Halibut Allocation Announcement
Update - February 17, 2012



For Immediate Release




VANCOUVER, B.C. -Today's changes to the recreational halibut fishery, will ensure that in 2012, recreational anglers will experience the shortest halibut fishing season in memory, said Sport Fishing Institute of BC President Robert Alcock. "Minister Ashfield closed the recreational halibut fishing on September 5th last year and caused extensive economic damage to the sport fishing industry", said Alcock. "Today he served notice that recreational halibut fishing will end in the first week of August, which will wreak havoc in the sport fishing industry and which will not conserve a single fish."


Ashfield announced that he will not accept the unanimous recommendation of Canada's 300,000 recreational anglers and create a "fixed number' fishery that would allow recreational anglers to enjoy a predictable fishery during periods of low halibut abundance. Instead, Ashfield simply tinkered with the flawed allocation system established in 2003 which will ensure that Canada's 436 commercial halibut quota holders can continue to harvest 85% of Canada's sustainable Total Allowable Catch (TAC). The TAC is established annually by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the amount of halibut that Canada and the US can harvest without endangering the long-term stability of halibut stocks.


During the 2011 election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Island residents that "Our government recognizes the importance of the halibut fishery in BC. The jobs and regional economic impact of the commercial, recreational and related tourism in BC are substantial. We remain committed to finding a solution to BC's halibut allocation issue in advance of the 2012 season that strikes a fair balance between all sectors."


"Recreational halibut fishers took the Prime Minister at his word," said Alcock. "Sadly, today we have learned the hard way that the Prime Minister's word is of little value, particularly to the hundreds of businesses, thousands of sport fishing industry employees and the hundred thousand Canadians who enjoy recreational halibut fishing."


According to a recent study conducted for the BC Seafood Alliance (the commercial sector's industry association), the recreational fishery in BC produces $642 million in annual sales, pays $150 million in wages and benefits, creates more than 7,800 jobs and 3,950 person-years of employment and contributes $240 million to the province's Gross Domestic Product.


For more information please contact


Robert Alcock


Sport Fishing Institute of British Columbia



or visit www.sportfishing.bc.ca.




  • More than 300,000 individuals purchase Pacific tidal angling licenses every year in British Columbia. Under DFO's allocation policy, they are entitled to access up to 15 per cent of Canada's annual allowable Pacific halibut catch. By contrast, Canada's 436 commercial halibut licence holders are entitled to harvest 85 per cent of the catch.
  • In 2012, Canada is entitled to catch up to 7,040,000 pounds of Pacific halibut. First Nations are allocated 500,000 pounds for food, social and ceremonial purposes. Commercial licence holders are allocated 5,559,000 pounds, and recreational anglers are allocated 981,000 pounds.
  • It is estimated that fewer than half of the 436 current commercial halibut licence holders actually fish for halibut. The other half get paid for leasing their access to Canada's halibut to other commercial fishers.
  • The new allocation make a slight modification to the 2003 policy upon which DFO is basing this closure was established as an interim step "until both parties can develop an acceptable mechanism that will allow for adjustment of the recreational share through acquisition of additional quota from the commercial sector." The 2003 policy also committed that "there will be no closure of the sport fishery in-season."



For more information contact:


Sport Fishing Institute of BC

t:  604.270.3439

w: www.sportfishing.bc.ca.

e: [email protected] 


The SFI Team,
Sport Fishing Institute of British Columbia



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