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UFAWU-Unifor Launches Parliamentary Petition To Stop Foreign Ownership Of Fishing Licenses & Quotas

Feb 22, 2023, Campbell River — The United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union has launched a Parliamentary Petition requesting an immediate stop to any further foreign ownership or beneficial interest in Canadian licenses and quotas.

The petition, which has been sponsored by Fleetwood—Port Kells MP Ken Hardie, aims to protect small-scale fish harvesters and ensure that the benefits of commercial fisheries flow to our coastal communities. The petition will be open for signature until March 22nd.

Canada currently does not have any limitation on foreign ownership of commercial fishing licenses and quotas in the Pacific Region. Furthermore, Canada does not record or track citizenship within transactions of fishing licenses and quotas.

Canadian Owner-Operator fish harvesters have been increasingly displaced by the foreign ownership of Canada's commercial fishing licenses and quotas. The absence of restrictions on foreign ownership of commercial fishing licenses and quotas damages the economic viability of Canadian-owned fishing operations, harvesters and their families, and coastal communities. It also impacts domestic food security and is directly linked to economic losses of domestic fish processing and processing jobs in Canada.

The Parliamentary Petition supports a recommendation made by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans’ 2019 Report on Sharing Risks and Benefits. The report recommends that no future sales of fishing quota and/or licenses be to non-Canadian beneficial owners based on the consideration of issues of legal authority and international agreement/trade impacts.

"That based on the principle that fish in Canadian waters are a resource for Canadians (i.e. common property), no future sales of fishing quota and/or licences be to non-Canadian beneficial owners based on the consideration of issues of legal authority, and international agreement/trade impacts,” a recommendation from the FOPO study West Coast Fisheries: Sharing Risks and Benefits says.

UFAWU-Unifor calls upon the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to take immediate action and ban any further transfer of Canadian commercial fishing licenses and quotas to foreign ownership or foreign beneficial interest.

To sign the petition, please visit petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Sign/e-4317.

For media inquiries or to schedule an interview, please contact UFAWU-Unifor Communications Organizer Liam Hill-Allan at communications@ufawu.org. 

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