December 18, 2020
CHN OPPOSES FACTORY TRAWLERS IN HAIDA TERRITORIES
The CHN is aware that two factory trawlers – F/V Sunderoey and F/V Pacific Legacy – were observed fishing in Siigaay Dixon Entrance from early to mid-December. The CHN shares many of the concerns expressed by Haida citizens regarding this recent fishing activity and the implications for Haida Gwaii marine ecosystems and Haida use, including commercial fishing opportunities. The CHN will be seeking to address these concerns by immediately advancing the following measures:
- Placement of Haida observers on all factory trawling vessels operating in Haida territories
- Sharing of trawling-related fisheries data with the CHN to inform a longer-term strategy for managing factory trawling in Haida territories.
In addition, the CHN will initiate discussions with DFO and industry regarding restricting factory trawlers from operating in Haida territories, effective immediately. We will also continue to work with other Nations and members of the fishing industry who share our concerns to work collectively on solutions.
The significant concerns raised by Haida citizens will also be advanced through ongoing regional marine spatial planning and fisheries management initiatives that the CHN is engaged in, including the establishment of a network of protected areas in Haida territories through the trilateral (Indigenous Nations-BC-Canada) MPA Network Planning Process and the bilateral (Indigenous Nations-Canada) Fisheries Resources Reconciliation Agreement.
“On behalf of the Haida Nation, I want to express our collective concern regarding the fishing activities of factory trawlers F/V Sunderoey and F/V Pacific Legacy in our waters and to be clear that there is no place for this type of vessel, with these types of fishing practices, within Haida territories. We intend to do what it takes to protect our territories from these types of vessels, and to protect the ecosystems upon which our culture and livelihoods depend.” — Gaagwiis Jason Alsop, President of the Haida Nation
Did you know?
Haida Gwaii landings from trawling represent 10% of the coastwide catch. Trawling involves dragging a net through the water column or along the seabed, harvesting a variety of fish that live near the bottom of the ocean, including Pacific cod, hake, rockfish and pollock. It is a complex fishery, comprising approximately 70 active vessels that operate under a system of Individual Transferrable Quotas (ITQs). The catch of halibut is not permitted by this fishery but often occur when targeting other species. Although halibut must be returned to the ocean, many do not survive their capture and release. Under-reporting is considered pervasive throughout the industry.
Concerns among Haida citizens regarding the sustainability of trawling fisheries had been brought forward through HOA resolutions since mid-1990s, including resolutions to monitor the trawl fisheries in Haida Gwaii waters to determine its impacts, and to prevent erosion of Haida fisheries by protecting and conserving the fish and marine habitats in our waters. In 1997-1998 Haida concerns regarding trawling in G̲adsguusd McIntyre Bay, X̲aana K̲aahlii Skidegate Inlet and Gwaaygiids K̲aahlii Cartwright Sound resulted in the closure of G̲adsguusd to ground fish trawl, X̲aana K̲aahlii to trawl and hook and line for halibut and rockfish, and Gwaaygiids K̲aahlii for hook and line for halibut and rockfish.
Since 2013, with the introduction of factory trawlers in the northwest, those concerns had intensified. Factory trawlers are capable of catching more fish, more quickly and can stay at sea longer than other vessels, since they can process and freeze as much as a million or more pounds of fish onboard, which brings more ecological impacts and even less benefits to our communities.