August 26, 2013
Open letter to Jimmy Pattison, Chair and CEO Jimmy Pattison Group
Dear Mr. Pattison,
As salmon and marine conservation organizations, we have long advocated for sustainable salmon fishing practices that benefit both salmon and coastal communities.
We recently released video footage of seine crews—some of them controlled by your company—seriously mishandling chum salmon and other species they are required to release as a conservation measure while fishing for abundant pink and coho salmon on the central coast of BC (watershed-watch.org/resources/north-coast-chum-discards). Resulting media coverage and positive messages we have received from commercial fishermen and the general public underscore both a broad interest in salmon conservation, and an urgent imperative to improve how fishermen handle and release “non-targeted” salmon from seriously depleted stocks.
Significant reform is required. The Pattison Group controls the largest portion of BC’s salmon seine fleet. Therefore, we believe that you personally must take a leadership role in minimizing harm to BC’s iconic salmon during the catching, sorting, and releasing process, while maximizing economic returns to fishermen and other British Columbians.
Our organizations work closely with commercial, aboriginal and recreational fishermen, fisheries managers, scientists, and others to improve conservation practices and the public’s confidence in BC’s fisheries. But despite our best efforts to address problems in these fisheries through government-led processes, which your representatives also participate in, matters have only become worse. We would prefer to work directly with fishermen, and with you and other salmon processors, to find lasting solutions to these problems.
We are thus requesting a meeting with you as soon as possible to talk about how we might proactively and positively improve salmon fisheries in British Columbia, to the benefit of all. We look forward to hearing from you.
Craig Orr, Aaron Hill, Vicky Husband, Watershed Watch Salmon Society
Greg Knox, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust
Misty MacDuffee, Andrew Rosenberger, Raincoast Conservation Foundation