Halibut Allocation Hearing - Malcolm AppEAl - Case Dismissed

The SFI and BC Wildlife Federation were granted responder status in a Federal Court hearing that was launched by a group of commercial halibut quota holders who oppose DFO's decision to increase the allocation to the recreational sector from 12% to 15%.  While the initial hearing was dismissed following a long wait to receive the ruling, an appeal was filed, accepted and heard in February 2014.  The ruling on the appeal, provided by three justices from the Federal Appeal Court, came much more quickly than the original ruling provided by Justice Rennie but confirmed his findings and dismissed the appeal in May 2014.  A few more details were relayed in a joint release by the BCWF and SFI as below:

Media Release

Sport Fishing Institute of BC/BC Wildlife Federation

May 22, 2014

For immediate release

SFI, BCWF Laud Halibut Allocation Court Ruling

Vancouver—The Sport Fishing Institute of BC (SFI) and the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) today lauded the recent decision by the Court of Appeal to uphold the Federal Court’s decision on recreational halibut allocation. In its decision, the Federal Court of Appeal unanimously affirmed the ability of the Federal Fisheries Minister to set halibut quota levels, and upheld former Fisheries Minister Ashfield’s 2012 decision to increase recreational halibut fisheries by three per cent.

“By effectively dismissing the appeal and awarding costs to the respondents, the court sent a strong message that commercial halibut quota holders do not “own” halibut”, said BCWF President, George Wilson, “This is clearly a victory for the over 100,000 recreational anglers who go halibut fishing in BC every year.”

“This decision confirms that pacific halibut and all our fisheries resources belong to the public and not just the lucky few”, added SFI President Robert Alcock. “It means that sport fishers can look forward to predictable, sustainable public fishing opportunities every year.”

The B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF) and the Sport Fishing Institute (SFI) acted as Respondents in the case, together with Fisheries and Oceans, as represented by the Attorney General of Canada.

This case demonstrates how recreational anglers and the sport fishing industry can work together to address key issues of fisheries access and allocation. The SFI and the BCWF would like to thank everyone who donated funds in support of upholding the rights of recreational anglers through this case - their support went a long way towards paying our significant legal bills.

For more information please contact:

Owen Bird, Executive Director, Sport Fishing Institute of BC: 604-805-6554 / birdo@sportfishing.bc.ca

Al Martin, Director of Strategic Initiatives, BC Wildlife Federation: 250-480-9694 / alan_martin@shaw.ca

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Public Documents on the Malcolm v. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Appeal Hearing – please click here to download or read documents