Fish Harvesters press leaders and candidates on “coastal agenda”

June 2, 2004

The country’s national fishermen’s organization wants candidates in coastal ridings to declare where they stand on key questions facing the Atlantic and Pacific fisheries before Canadians go to the polls.

“So far a lot of the talk in the election campaign has been about the ‘urban agenda’ but there’s been no talk about the needs of rural Canada, particularly small fishing communities” said Earle McCurdy, President of the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters said.

McCurdy said inshore fishermen in the Atlantic are extremely concerned about corporate concentration in the inshore fishery, taxes being charged retiring fishermen and the rising costs for young people to get into the fishery. In BC the concerns are about impending privatization of access rights.

McCurdy said in the Atlantic the Council will survey candidates in all coastal ridings on whether they will support new regulations to prevent processing companies and other investors from owning inshore fishing licenses; giving retiring fish harvesters the same tax treatment as farmers and small business and; making it easier for young people to get loans from regular financial institutions to finance licence transfers. In BC candidates will be surveyed on whether or not they support privatizing access rights to salmon and other valuable species.

“These are all important issues in fishing communities. Voters in these communities have the right to know where the political parties and local candidates stand on these issues.” he said.

In addition to the party leaders, the pre-election survey is being sent to candidates in all coastal ridings in BC, the Atlantic Provinces and Eastern Quebec. The Council intends to release the responses before the June 28th election.

The Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters (CCPFH) is a non-profit organization formed in 1995 to represent the interests of professional fish harvesters throughout Canada in their relations with federal, provincial and territorial governments.

You can see the media release in its original format here.