Community Dialogue

December 2005
Community Solutions Building:
Fish Processors

Meeting #1
December 7, 2005
Dixon Entrance Maritime Museum, Masset, 1 to 3:45 pm

Host: Lynn Lee, Haida Gwaii Marine Matters
Facilitator: John Farrell
Note taker: Catherine Rigg

Disclaimer: Please note that this is a paraphrased record of events. Any misrepresentation in participants’ comments, questions, and/or responses is unintentional.

Minutes of Meeting

Welcome to everyone – this meeting today is to talk about marine planning and the role and future of fish processing. We'd like to talk about future options and the needs of the fish processing community on the Islands. The meetings are funded by World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF) and I know there is some suspicion around the interest of a conservation organization. Personally, I have lived in Tlell for 14 years and I am interested in both Islands ' communities and conservation. For me it is important to figure out how they link to each other so I'd like to talk about what the Island communities need and what our future might look like in terms of sustainable fisheries. Over the last four years we have had three community meetings – the first was sponsored by Haida Fisheries and WWF, the second was the same, and the third was organized with Gwaii Haanas as well. The idea is to start identifying ground-up, local solutions to marine management issues around the Islands. The ‘Reflections of the Sea Around Us' document in front of you summarizes the discussions from the communities and outline what people thought were important in terms of local marine issues.

You interviewed us – are our comments in there?

  • All of the information that I've gathered is in there. Please take them home and phone me if you have any concerns or issues. I know there is suspicion of conservation interests, and I've really tried to focus on recording what the communities want here.
  • The meeting, unfortunately, was in July when we are most busy so we couldn't attend.
  • The fishermen had the same problem – the reason it was in July was because our guest speakers were already scheduled to be on-island for another reason at that time.
  • That's also how DFO works. They get you to sign a book to say you're at a meeting and then call it consensus.

WWF has focused on collecting information about the oceans around the Islands and then translating that information into maps and graphs. The data is not complete, but it's a start. As you probably know, it is difficult to get detailed data from DFO. We've mapped out what we can – for instance, you can see that the areas in red are where fishing is closed for many reasons.

  • Skidegate Inlet is open for dogfish. We had that changed three years ago.
  • But it is still closed to trawlers, crab fishermen etc. When the maps are more complete I will put it together as a package and send it out to everyone.

Who wanted us here today and why?

  • WWF funds me as a local coordinator. I put together a work plan outlining what I propose to do locally. WWF wants to ensure sustainable fisheries over the long term and has committed to working with communities to make sure protection measures and management makes sense (for example, the placement of protected areas or species-specific conservation strategies). I don't believe conservation groups should make decisions without community buy-in. I think conservation and economics are tied together and we need to derive local benefit from these resources to the islands. The idea is that we be proactive and start having these discussions instead of someone else telling us what we need.
  • Meanwhile DFO and Gwaii Haanas are looking at the waters around here and making decisions. The idea is to come up with something that identifies what people who live here agree with. We have had large meetings and now we are moving to sector-by-sector meetings. In terms of agenda items, I'd like to start by talking about the reality of fish processing (i.e. what you do), and then move onto issues and concerns you have. The conversations will be recorded, and you can also give feedback after you have received the record of the meeting to ensure accuracy.

Have you spoken to local fishermen?

  • Yes, we've started that conversation. We've met with commercial fishermen (although there are more meetings necessary to speak to more people), recreational fishermen, and people in Old Massett regarding North Beach issues. It's an ongoing conversation.

Once the information is compiled what impact will it have? Will it go back to DFO?

  • The idea is that a series of recommendations will come out from the community and go to the decision-makers, including the CHN and DFO. At the moment the Turning Point initiative with First Nations is looking at integrated management, including marine planning. We can fit into that process by identifying what communities need.
  • These larger processes are not coming to the sectors to talk. This is a grassroots project that seeks to say, “this is the way people here see the marine map and usage of marine space.”

So say someone says “I support bottom draggers because they are our biggest money-maker.” WWF would support this position?

  • What WWF publicly supports has to fit with long term-conservation but that doesn't preclude a discussion. We can say, “this is what the community said.”
  • And everything will be documented?
  • Yes, everything is documented. I, personally, as the WWF representative may not be able to go to bat for certain positions that are considered inconsistent with conservation, but I can record them.

I am somewhat cynical. Groups that we buy from have their own advisory groups – and they are the people who influence decision-makers. I've never seen WWF represented at the table.

  • You may have heard of the Marine Conservation Caucus. Although it is no longer active (for all sorts of reasons including data access issues) they were at the table and WWF was represented there.

From the perspective of a fish buyer/processor/seller, I have a problem – I cannot represent the people I am buying from and can't make a public statement on their behalf. I can't talk about what my people want, all I can say is that we need reasonable access to the resource.

  • It is difficult knowing that I have no control. I can say I support X, Y, and Z but I don't know how people will react to my statements.
  • For example, say there is a dragger at the dock. The fish there have been validated a number of times. They have huge access to the resource and I don't want to say anything about that sector because I want them to come back. The same goes for other issues like wild salmon, razor clamming, and aquaculture.
  • To be clear, we are not asking for opinions on different fisheries – we are interested in knowing what the barriers are to your local business.
  • Access to the resource is most important.

We only want an understanding of what barriers you need to overcome in your business.

  • Why would we divulge our weaknesses? Our competitors are here.
  • There are some shared problems – for example, staffing and freight off the Island.
  • It is access that we all need.
  • We also need cold storage to put the resource in. We have taken the plant from three months operating to 10 months. Dave's now working 10 months too. If we could add value to our products, that would be a big advantage.

Is there a lack of cold storage?

  • There is none on-island.
  • There is also the issue of freight.
  • And the ferry.

How much more value-added can be done?

  • Cold storage is really the big limitation.
  • The bottom line is that if there is potential for value-added, someone will do it. Need capacity, people/staffing, skills etc.
  • Currently we are all operating and still here. There's also been talk about community licenses and local fishermen supplying processors. Staffing is an issue everywhere – it is part of business cycles and is not really an issue specific to here.

Are there more branches to the issue of “access”?

  • Access is really an issue of openings and closures.
  • And quotas.
  • The timing of closures and the quantity/amount that they can catch affects us.
  • It's an issue of communication.
  • It is really non-communication with DFO. There is the problem of local staff – the local (Maaset) office is basically closed. One of the staff members is on stress leave, another is off-island. DFO information is also unreliable – they don't walk creeks like they used to and they don't know what's going on.
  • Apparently there are three new Fisheries Officers coming in.
  • The openings and closures are random, not convenient and there is no consultation.
  • For example, there is an abundance of pilchards and there is a complete unwillingness to look at the issue by the department. We've determined that there is enough to support a fishery and fisheries are happening elsewhere. That's why the tuna are here – they're chasing pilchard. And we're not being given the opportunity because the department is not willing to cooperate. You can't get to the people who are making the decisions. They make announcements on Friday afternoons and you can never get them. Monday they'll be on holiday. Processors just give up after a while.
  • This is a problem for existing fisheries too – not just new fisheries.
  • We can talk to the representative manager, but he lacks people to validate what he's being told. Look at the pink run in Masset Inlet – they won't let us catch them at the mouth of the Inlet and instead force people to fish at the Yakoun where the fish are black and not worth anything.

So you have no influence in DFO management?

  • None. The salmon fishery was supposed to open June 15th and they kicked it up 7 days and no one was ready. There is no communication.
  • There are rumours and speculation – and then there are changes anyway.

In terms of solutions, do you sit down with DFO? Would this happen locally? Is there a group to represent processors?

  • There is the North Coast Advisory Board – a consultation group based out of Prince Rupert. It has become so self-serving though and we no longer have a voice from the Islands as part of the group.
  • We phone Prince Rupert to find out what's happening and find out that they are waiting for advice from different groups. Who are they referring to?
  • The North Coast Advisory Board.
  • (In their current form) They have been in existence for a few years and there are no elections and no rules of engagement.
  • It's a notification issue.

One discussion that some people have been raising is the possibility of an Islands ' marine management board – what do you think? How might we do that?

  • That would be very big.
  • Any smaller options?
  • This is the first time we've come together – it's exciting.
  • Normally we are at work, and this is our competition.
  • We're not talking about specific businesses – just general obstacles.
  • We do have some common issues.
  • We could come together once in awhile.
  • We're usually so busy responding to quick decisions by DFO.
  • This is the time of year that those issues can be addressed.
  • DFO only lets a certain number of people at meetings – you can watch but you are not at the table. It is a real problem with affecting change.

Would a representative on the North Coast Advisory solve the notification problem?

  • Most definitely.
  • Like how we got to sit in on the conference call about groundfish?
  • We got that number by accident. That was unbelievable.
  • So should we ask for representation on the North Coast Advisory?
  • They will say that the union represents us even though we never sanctioned that.
  • Have you requested representation?
  • Not personally.
  • It sounds like someone needs to ask.
  • Do you want to get a seat? Is it worth your time?
  • Ninety percent of trolling happens on the west coast QCI. We need to get information out to the guys and we have to be very aggressive to get fishermen to come into Masset or QCC. Communication is very important so that we can tell them what's going on.

How do you find out now?

  • We phone.
  • There are rumours and then there is email notification – usually after the fact. Right now decisions are being made about spring salmon quota, the re-pick, and maybe coho will be going to quota too. These are all things that will happen next year, and where are these decisions being made?
  • Those decisions are being made at Breakers and coffee shops. That's where it all happens. The North Coast Advisory will be the vehicle for us to participate– the problem is that they've limited the seats.
  • I've heard commercial fishermen express frustration – they say, “you sit on boards and you are not heard or have any influence even if you are at the table.”
  • It is a first step though to finding out what decisions are coming down.
  • There are business implications with not knowing. You can't pre-sell fish (salmon) like you can with crab.
  • The North Coast Advisory Process used to be good in the 1980s. Now everyone is secular – they don't want you to know anyone.

What steps can you take?

  • Write a letter to DFO and request a seat. We also need to decide who can represent Island processors.
  • We should have one from each company because we each have different issues.
  • That's the problem with elected officials – they're always biased to their own issues. The important issue is one step beyond a North Coast Advisory seat – it's the issue of access. How can that be solved?
  • That's a different issue. Notification might be solved by a seat at the table. Access is another issue.

We have to have communication with all trans-boundary groups, including Alaska Fish and Game. They are catching way more fish up there. Locally, flights are a problem – the propeller airplanes have no freight and no room – whereas Alaska can fly out their fish right away.

  • That's also a communication problem. We need to know when and where to fish. If there are a huge number of fish in Alaska , then there is no sense in selling our small number of fish because we have to ship them to Prince Rupert and then they are trucked from there.
  • Market-wise are there any solutions?
  • The market is only so big.
  • I have had a problem shipping out four boxes of scallops every Tuesday since February.

In terms of the North Coast Advisory issue – there is a suggestion that you send a letter and that you would decide who would sit at the table.

  • We could alternate the seat. We also used to have the QCI Advisory Board but now they've stopped because Ocean, Canfisco, McMillan and BC Packers felt there was no need for it.
  • So it should be here?
  • Yes, and then that body could elect someone to the North Coast Advisory. It was pretty big though. Everyone wants to be in on it – gillnetters, trollers, CHN, sporties etc.
  • John Disney was on the QCI Advisory Board. He would be a good resource to figure out how many seats might work.
  • When did it end?
  • 1996/97.
  • Ask Victor Fradette – he knows. He's good, and he's pretty much the fish processor's representative. He can make this happen.

Who is going to do it? There are two parts: (1) the letter, and (2) contacting the resource people (John Disney, Victor Fradette etc.).

  • First set up the Islands ' Advisory Group and then go to the North Coast Advisory. And don't ask – tell them you want to be on the board.

Who funded it? Did DFO pay for space/meeting expenses?

  • Yes, DFO did pay some. Victor will be able to tell you.
  • The meetings were usually in Tlell here on-island.
  • There also used to be the Haida Gwaii Marine Resources Group Association (HGMRGA) but these issues were never talked about.
  • Their job was to administer fisheries renewal money.
  • These issues are not just processing issues.
  • No, you're right. They affect all groups and it's crazy that it doesn't exist.
  • So the QCI Advisory Board is the first step, and then the North Coast Advisory.

How do we facilitate that?

  • There should be an open letter to the Observer to initiate the meeting. Basically an open invitation to all groups.
  • Also consider asking Jeff to do a piece on the past history of the QCI Advisory board. Contact the Observer and get a story to build interest.
  • It could get huge though – the CHN, Haida Fisheries, Councils etc. will all want to be on it. It could get really complicated.
  • But it could also be a very effective group. The model and terms of reference are already there – you can call Victor for the background.
  • I don't know if you want it to be the QCI Advisory Board exactly. You don't want it too huge.
  • I can commit to talking to Victor and getting that information back to processors.
  • I think it should be apolitical – keep it smaller and include only people who are involved in the industry.
  • User groups only.
  • The CHN has a license.
  • Then they are a user group.
  • I'd also like to state that there shouldn't be a quota on razor clams. There should just be an open date and a close date.

In terms of access – we talked about openings and closings, and the issue of communication. These issues are obviously linked and are about being in the know.

  • It is an influence issue. If we set up a board we could talk about communication, openings and closing, quota etc.
  • I see quota as a fisherman's issue.

Are there any problems or disadvantages to the Advisory Board? What about the issue of it becoming too big?

  • I am concerned about the number of sportfishers at the table.
  • The terms of reference will give guidance, and there are other models around the islands that you could consider. For example, at the land use planning table there were “interest group” representatives at the table and then observers were also given time to give input at the end of meetings.

Earlier, we talked about he issue of community licenses and community fishermen supplying processors. What do you think of that?

  • That should come out at a community level – for example, the Village of Masset. We could suggest or support the idea though.
  • But you are generally in support?
  • There is the problem of dividing up a set quota. If the quota is 10 lbs and two guys are fishing 5 lbs each and suddenly the community wants 20%, then it can be a problem and we get into trouble.
  • So basically you would be comfortable with a general statement that local access is a good thing and that community licensing might be good.
  • Yes, that's okay.

What about cold storage?

  • That's also something that everyone has in common – that could be a community thing.
  • You would pay for space.
  • We would want to look at opportunities to keep the plant going – we have to be creative and unique.

Who would fund this? Where does the money come from? Who would set it up?

  • There is money in the Western Economic Diversification fund, Gwaii Trust etc. for these kinds of infrastructure projects.
  • More than just the processors might use it – the Co-op, Warner etc.
  • You can also access $100,000 through the Coast Sustainability Trust.
  • The cost of setting up cold storage is very expensive – we're talking around $1 million for a facility of reasonable size.
  • Around 10,000 square feet.
  • That's the size of the hanger.
  • You'd also want to stack totes to get maximum volume.

There is also the issue of location.

  • In Sitka , Alaska , the community set up a cold storage plant and everyone said they were crazy because there were only two fish processing plants – but the place is full and successful.

Who would run it?

  • The community, maybe the Village of Masset. You'd want to hire someone to actually run it.
  • It would be run as a business. Would it be user-pay or a society?
  • It would have to be independent and user-pay. You could bill by the pound.
  • We store in Vancouver only because there is nothing here.
  • It is an opportunity to keep money on-island.
  • Maybe it could also be used for mushroom storage.
  • All of us pay leases on trailers every year.
  • If it was compartmentalized, then you could shut down part of it if it isn't at full capacity.
  • Who would pay the upkeep costs?
  • It could be user-pay – it only needs to pay for operating expenses.

Who would come up with the $1 million?

  • It should be self-sustaining – you would want to find someone to write a business proposal for you.
  • Peter Lantin writes proposals.
  • It's important to get someone with experience in cold storage.
  • I'd suggest that the initial costs would involve the cost of cold storage and an emersion freezer for brine freezing herring. This would pay for itself. It's also not just what we do, but what else we can bring in. Look at the roe herring fishery that now goes to Rupert– we have the advantage of being a day sooner, we can freeze as well, and the first week of April is a quiet time here.
  • I'm not sure I understand – what exactly will happen at the cold storage facility?
  • The facility would have a brine emersion freezer. That would be part of the business for the cold storage.
  • Isn't that making it a small processing plant?
  • No. You would process the fish after they are frozen. You freeze the fish first and then they would go back to the plant for processing.

What is the stumbling block to the cold storage idea?

  • Money.
  • Money shouldn't be a major issue. Gwaii Trust has a $1 million infrastructure program, with money to be directed to each community. The Coast Sustainability Trust has $3.5 million that has to be spent in the next three years. Infrastructure money is usually fairly easy to come by, and the cold storage facility should make enough money to sustain itself.
  • It is a business though – what about profits?
  • All the money would be for operating.
  • It would be a “community business.” Any profit would be reinvested back into the cold storage facility. The arguments you could use for funding would be that it would provide capacity to do more secondary processing (value-added), and more processing means more jobs and so on.
  • At the moment boats go past the Islands to Prince Rupert because of the lack of cold storage here.
  • There are still transportation problems – the issue of ferry space, for example.
  • There are many reasons why boats go by to Prince Rupert. Fuel and groceries are cheaper there, and they get more money for their fish.
  • Some are also tied to companies (Aero, for example).

In terms of money, you could also get money through the Western Economic Diversification Fund (WED). There is fish money through Community Futures that is very rarely accessed. The first step is to develop a business plan that shows benefits to all communities, and lobby the Gwaii Trust and Community Sustainability Trust.

  • The trick is to show it can sustain itself.
  • I think we need herring to be a part of the cold storage facility – I'd like to be a part of this.
  • Is everyone willing to put money in a pot to hire an independent person to go to processors to investigate and develop a business plan?
  • That's a possibility – we could put money in together.
  • It may be worth going to someone who has experience in cold storage.
  • I could give you a name tomorrow.
  • We should also talk to Sitka – they could help and they have the experience.
  • The business plan should come up with operating costs etc. and estimate how much people will use the facility.
  • A rate list can be based on cold storage in Vancouver. It will change how we do business in the community.
  • I'm paying 1 cent/lb per month in Vancouver.

What about the fresh market?

  • The fresh fish market and quota are details that have to be considered in a business plan.

There is also the issue of location.

  • Everyone except Albion will say Masset – which will obviously make it more expensive for me.
  • We have to go to the ferry anyway.
  • That is an issue to put in the business plan.
  • Compared to what we deal with right now, this is an easy issue.

There are also other user groups who are not here.

  • Look at freezer trollers – they could leave their fish at a cold storage facility and either sell it themselves or sell to us (processors).
  • Maybe this would be an option for the aboriginal food fishery. It could reduce the waste and may be a storage option.
  • Hunters too – it could be a place for deer.
  • You have to be very careful about combining fish and deer in one place.

Who? Who will do this?

  • I think it should be an independent person.
  • So if you put money together, who would you hire to do this? How will you find out who can do it?
  • We should put it out to the rest of the community – there are other user groups to go to as well.
  • You are the major user group though.
  • We can start the process.
  • I can help with grant proposals to Gwaii Trust or others to get it going.
  • We should create an email group.
  • I have limited knowledge of cold storage, but I can coordinate and organize.
  • I would recommend selecting a short list and then forming a hiring committee. Do conference call interviews, ask questions, check references and so on.
  • You really do want someone who has experience in cold storage.
  • I think that's very important. Pacific Seafoods outside of Victoria (they have –28 degree Celsius cold storage) are really struggling. You need to have product in the facility and a good manager.
  • Marketing is important too. You need to identify your user groups.
  • We may also need a refrigeration technician because Al is too busy.
  • The facility should have scan systems for billing and storage. It should be all automatic.

What about the freight issue? The plane and ferry?

  • Cold storage is our own solution here. We can't control what happens with the plane and ferry.
  • BC Ferries hears individuals all screaming with different messages and they don't listen. It could be different if there was a united voice.
  • The months of May to September are our problem because of the tourist traffic.
  • Too many people and not enough room
  • We are planning to have a freight liner starting June 15th stopping in Masset. It can carry 10,000 lbs, is one of our own planes, and is going from here to Seattle. There may be an opportunity to sell space to others if it's not filled by Pacific Seafood.
  • That's great.

Do you think there is value in speaking with one voice for the processors?

  • Yes.
  • I went to a meeting with Ferries in Prince Rupert and they asked us what the problems were. They're asking, but I'm not sure they are listening. What they need to do is change the ferry to the Queen of the North which has no height restriction and has double the capacity. The Queen of Prince Rupert has limited space. Send the Queen of Prince Rupert back to Port Hardy.
  • They can't guarantee what will get on and there is a lot of freight sitting around.
  • In Ketchikan there is a private ferry that actually makes money. It just keeps going – doing runs back and forth.
  • They really don't seem to care. We fly a lot in and out with Air Canada and they don't care.
  • We are caught in the middle – we have too much for the plane and not enough for a full trailer.
  • Summer sailings could be extended to meet our needs.
  • That would make a big difference.
  • They are embarrassed by the Queen of Prince Rupert. They don't want to put it on a major tourist run to Port Hardy. But there is a better chance that they will listen to one voice.
  • It would help if we had another option. At the moment there is the ferry or the plane, and nothing else.
  • We send out quite a bit of freight. The Queen of the North would expand opportunities for us.
  • I've never seen as many people not getting on the boat as recently. Nobody is happy.
  • Trailers were left in the lot last Sunday. Something is not working – it's the middle of winter.
  • We should go back to the old system which had a barge for non-perishables (trucks, tractors, graders). I'm concerned about the paving from Port Clements to Masset next summer. Last summer all the paving equipment meant there was very little space.
  • We don't use the ferry.
  • We tried, but it doesn't work. Lindsay's tells us to check with other people (CBI etc.) to see if there's space.
  • The problem is we don't know if we have space until the last minute.
  • Would cold storage solve this?
  • It would solve a lot of the problems.

The QCI Advisory Board could be the voice to talk to BC Ferries, Air Canada etc. In terms of BC Ferries, they keep telling us that people on the island don't know what they want. They hear upset individuals and there is no single voice.

  • That's convenient for them. They do get the same message – more service.

What about the plane?

  • Same problem – it is too small.
  • It's hit-and-miss. During mushroom season, it's insane.
  • We pay guaranteed freight, and even then we've been bumped.
  • We get bumped because of passenger's baggage though, not for mushrooms.
  • Every Tuesday I deliver scallops, and this has been happening for three to four years – they are still surprised when I show up! I still have to be there four hours early, and I will be bumped if there is a dog on the plane, dangerous cargo, … no food can go on those planes and baggage will always go first.

What is the impact of sport fishing?

  • They are using ferry space.
  • They have two reefers. There is not room on the plane so the fish go out by ferry.
  • We looked at chartering a plane but the cost was ridiculous – it was going to cost $15,000 to $16,000 and we couldn't even get the weight on it that we needed.
  • Sport fishing might be an ally for you – they would share the same concerns about the ferry.
  • The ferry is a higher priority for me, the plane less so. It is vice versa for them – we have inverse priorities.
  • Their focus would be on the plane – lobbying Air Canada – because they want fish to go with their customers.
  • It is worth asking them about their concerns and freight issues.

What about the issue of capacity and skilled workers?

  • There is not much we can do about that.
  • I had to bring twenty people from Prince Rupert to go to work last year.
  • The work is seasonal and they get the same money from social assistance as they would in wages. Capacity problems are because of numbers – we need a bigger population.
  • But what's the solution? We can't change the face of the population and make them better employees.
  • Or you bring in people like Bob did.
  • We've gone to the high school and talked to kids about seasonal jobs – they're just not interested. It's bizarre. We even ran a bus from Skidegate to Masset, but that's a lot to ask of someone (long shifts plus travel time).
  • So it's not an issue of lack of trying to hire locally?
  • No.
  • It's just a small pool.
  • I keep re-hiring those I've fired. I'm on the second time around.
  • A few years ago we worked 73 days, 24 hours/day without stopping. We have a unionized plant. A committee came to me to ask for permission to take alternating days off to go drinking. I asked them to leave.
  • Five years ago someone called me to ask for help because only half of his workers showed up. I ended up going to work.
  • What about job fairs?
  • These are behaviours that are taught at home.
  • It's an issue of work ethic.
  • On a more optimistic note, I was just at the adult learning program and adult learners are hired first by processors. Adult learning programs are a ticket to getting a job, and this is slowly filtering back to the community.
  • Good employees usually have three to four jobs.

How do you see yourself as part of the sustainable fisheries economy on Island ?

  • We just want to make a living.
  • I see myself as socially responsible for the people who work for us. We are responsible for those people, and that changes the relationship to the community. You can see the automatic translation into the community at the Co-op, bank etc.
  • As an aside, I am a volunteer at the food back and in the summer the number of people who come to the bank declines because of clam digging. Clams offer seasonal work, whereas in the winter the numbers at the food bank increase.
  • Welfare is also down now – and that makes you feel good.

Do people want to process year-round?

  • Yes, from a company perspective.
  • That's why cold storage is important. Right now we can't do secondary processing. The busy season is too short and the amount of fish too big. If we could put fish in cold storage, we could take it out between January and March and do secondary processing.
  • We are doing as much as we can at the moment.
  • And a cold storage facility would offer new opportunities.
  • Of course, the fish have to be out there too. We are already competing.
  • In southeast Alaska there is tremendous opportunity. We keep going back year after year. We need a big cold storage building – we'll keep it going somehow.

Thank you, this was a good meeting.

  • Yes, it's good to expand the conservation perspective.
  • I was very cynical – I called everyone yesterday to talk about the purpose of this meeting.
  • We are concerned about the implications of participating, especially when you consider all the other issues on the table like aquaculture etc.

Please take this document that is a summary of local “common ground” in terms of marine issues identified over recent years. I am looking to get feedback from those in marine related work – it can be anonymous if you want. If there are points you agree with, don't agree with, comments, please let me know.

Ocean ranching is big in southeast Alaska. Five places do it – basically there are big granite walls built and the area supports all types of fishing (subsistence to commercial). They get a 10% return and it is self-sustaining – which is incredible considering a 3% recovery on the Skeena is considered huge. These are all ocean fish and they ranch chum, sockeye and coho.

  • They set up these systems in streams that do not have fish. When the fish return, they harvest them. Ocean ranching is entirely designed to drive fisheries.
  • And it produces functional and good-looking fish. The community got a loan, they paid it back, and now they are self-sufficient.

Haida Fisheries brought in a manger from Alaska to Pallant Creek to upgrade the hatchery. They have increased production, and are running the hatchery with less money than DFO ever did, but DFO is still not totally supportive.

  • Also the North Coast Advisory is trying to stop Pallant and DFO is managing by “weak stock management.” They won't open fisheries – for example, last year we told them that sockeye were coming and they wouldn't listen.

I will send out email contacts, and please keep in touch.

  • For names of people on the board talk to John Disney.
  • We need to talk to more people than just John Disney.
  • I totally agree – Victor is also a good source. We need to get as much information as possible.
  • I can also help with grant proposals etc. if you want me to.
  • If we form a committee, we can then apply for money.
  • It has to be non-profit – the only difference is that profits would go back into the entity and not to shareholders.
  • Maybe any extra profits could go to conservation.

Thank you everyone for coming to the meeting. I think it was a productive discussion and hope we can continue in the future.

Meeting adjourned at 3:45 pm.



•  Issues

  • Access (timing of openings/closings; quota; communication/relationships with DFO; role of QCI Advisory)
  • Cold storage
  • Freight – ferry/plane
  • Capacity (employment)
  • Quota

•  Access

  • Timing of openings/closures
  • Random, no consultation
  • Lack of communication (notification process/influence)
  • Steps to address issue: (1) Letter requesting seat at NC Advisory, (2) Representation (alternating), (3) Resurrect QCI Advisory

•  QCI Advisory to North Coast Advisory

  • Open letter in Observer to initiate meeting
  • User groups only

•  Community-based licensing & processing

  • Initiation to come from local community government
  • Community cold storage (estimate ~ $ 1 million for 10,000 square feet; issue of location)
  • Funding options: Coast Sustainability Trust, fish funding through Community Futures

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