Efforts are underway to finalize a code of conduct for recreational fishing on Haida Gwaii.
The code, governing harvests of both finfish and shellfish, is a priority item under the Haida Gwaii Marine Plan to provide framework around a uniquely Haida Gwaii approach to the public fishery.
“The Code of Conduct has been drafted in consultation with many knowledge holders and stakeholders with passion and expertise for fishing on Haida Gwaii, and seeks to touch on longstanding concerns related to conservation, culture, sustainability and etiquette on the water,” Urs Thomas, chair of the Haida Gwaii Sport Fishing Advisory Council wrote in an email to stakeholders.
The code was developed by a trilateral group consisting of the Council of the Haida Nation, the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The group is now seeking final review and feedback from SFAC members.
In its current draft form, the code is designed to ensure stewardship and sustainability modeled on Haida principles of respect and responsibility, providing numerous guidelines for the treatment of marine fish and mammals, their habitat and the environment.
Included in the document are codes to “take only what you need,” avoid unnecessary harm to untargeted species, refrain from targeting the largest fish and ending catch-and-release practices.
“The Haida Nation does not support using catch-and-release to fish for entertainment,” the draft code reads. “To play with food is considered an unethical practice. This position follows thousands of years of practicing sustainable fishing as a way of life.”