Making Cooperative Research Work: A Move to Collaborative Salmon Management and Research on the West Coast of British Columbia
Gordon R. Curry
In Canada, wild Pacific salmon are managed as a common property resource through licence access and catch sharing between sectors through an allocation policy. Alternate management strategies are being considered and may include more defined shares and a greater sense of ownership, combined with increased responsibility by harvesters for management and research. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) funds most of the costs of management and research in the salmon fishery, but with shrinking government budgets, harvesters are being asked to take on a greater role, including funding management and research.
Concern for “species at risk” under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and other stocks at low abundance are now driving the management and therefore access to abundant stocks (“weak stock management”). The current management regime and harvest strategies have resulted in a fishery struggling through change and having difficulty attaining viability. First Nations, Industry, other stakeholders, and DFO are working through a new process called “Fisheries Reform.” This program aims to explore ways to increase viability in the fishery, meet the ever increasing conservation standards while also working towards greater cooperative management. There are four main themes for Pacific fishery reform.