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This letter is to summarize the process for allocating the 2023 halibut quota by the Fisheries Committee. A notice was posted to the Lax Kw’alaams Band website and Facebook page on April 20th, outlining the process for this year’s application for leasing halibut quota. At that time, the community was notified that this intake prioritized fishermen who had only received the halibut quota once, and that only those fishermen would be eligible to apply.
There were 32 applications in total, 20 of which did not qualify for the draw. Of the boats that did not qualify, some boats had received quota twice in recent years, while some boats still owe food fish to the Band. Members owing on a contract do not qualify for any other fisheries until their contract is fulfilled.
Last year’s commercial halibut quota was approximately 45,000 lbs, and last year the Fisheries Committee awarded 10 boats with halibut quota. This year’s commercial halibut quota was 36,724 lbs. The Fisheries Committee completed a random draw of eligible applicants to award 7 boats with halibut quota. Because there was less available halibut quota this year, the committee decreased the draw to 7 boats.
The draw took place on June 19, 2023 at the Lax Kw’alaams Firehall. The draw was done by a neutral individual with several of the Fisheries Committee and commercial fishermen present as witnesses. The recipients of the 2023 halibut quota, chosen by draw, are Stan Dennis Jr., Soraya Anderson, Floyd Sampson, Byron Dudoward, Rob Hughes, Randy Dudoward and Colin Helin.
The Fisheries Committee is working within the constraints of the PICFI program. Additionally, the Fisheries Committee has worked to implement the food fish program to help offset start-up costs for Lax Kw’alaams fishermen. This program is mutually beneficial for Lax Kw’alaams fishermen, and Band members alike. The Fisheries Committee is proud that this program is ongoing.
Additionally, Lax Kw’alaams will be negotiating a reconciliation agreement with the provincial and federal governments, which fisheries will be a top priority for these discussions.
The Fisheries Committee works to provide fair access to this program to all fishermen, and provide halibut quota as equitably as possible. The PICFI program is intended to keep Lax Kw’alaams fishermen active in the industry.
Lastly, the Fisheries Committee is planning a community meeting in late September after the fishing season, in both Lax Kw’alaams and Prince Rupert. This meeting will discuss the committees’ achievements, ongoing projects and future developments.
Rob Hughes, on behalf of the Fisheries Committee