The commercial fishing industry has defined the coast since the 1870s. In the Central Coast alone, the projected 2007 landed commercial catch value was estimated at $18 million. However, many commercial species are in decline and through buy-back programs and consolidation of licences commercial fishing is playing a smaller role in our local economy. In fact, there has been a 17% decline in industry employment since 1996 – the local impact is significantly greater.
Co-jurisdiction agreements with DFO will be negotiated to ensure that the Central Coast First Nations have equal jurisdiction and authority over the management of fishery resources in our territories. There are a number of immediate actions that should be taken to improve the sustainability of commercial fisheries in our territories. Through revenue sharing agreements with government and resource users our Nations will undertake studies to determine the effectiveness of current and proposed management regimes at sustaining populations of commercially important species.
Commercial fisheries management must respond to the need for more sustainable practices, improved access to marine resources for First Nations’ food, social and ceremonial purposes, and improved economic outcomes for local coastal communities. Our plan provides a series of strategies for meeting these objectives.