Biology and Management of Dogfish Sharks

27. New Monitoring and Management Regime: Groundfish Fisheries in British Columbia

Tamee Mawani


Abstract.—The fishery for spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias within British Columbia (B.C.) has fluctuated greatly over the past 150 years. During the 1930s and 1940s it was one of the most valuable fisheries on the West Coast. Active management of this fishery began in 1977 after Canada extended its exclusive economic zone to 200 mi. The management of Pacific groundfish fisheries, including dogfish, is complex, and is further complicated by serious conservation concerns. Bycatch issues and the lack of full catch monitoring have been of particular concern. As a result, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) approached groundfish industry representatives to develop a plan to address these key issues. A program to make individual fishers more accountable for their harvest, to improve compliance with the DFO’s selective fishing and fishery monitoring policies, and to be consistent with Pacific fisheries reform was developed. This integration program was implemented in 2006 for commercial groundfish fisheries within B.C. As a result, at-sea monitoring was maximized to 100% and individual transferable quotas within each fishery allow fishermen to account for their groundfish bycatch on an annual basis. This new management system could help pave the way for other fisheries around the world to learn, adjust accordingly, and implement similar regimes.