VANCOUVER – Canada’s largest commercial fishermen’s union says the creation of a new marine protection area off British Columbia’s north coast will result in lost jobs and higher prices for seafood.
The Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters’ Federation says the protection area goes too far in banning all fishing in several regions between Vancouver Island and the archipelago of Haida Gwaii.
Jim McIsaac, the group’s Pacific vice-president, says the union supports safeguarding the region’s glass sponge reefs but he regrets that the Fisheries Department hasn’t followed the group’s advice after seven years of consultation.
The federal government is expected to announce the new protection area on Thursday.
Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc says the federal government does not believe preserving the glass-sponge conservation area is an either/or proposition and that it’s possible to do so while balancing the interests of the commercial fishing industry.
LeBlanc says the government is committed to meeting its target of protecting five per cent of Canada’s marine ecosystem by the end of the year, and 10 per cent by 2020.