Trollers to get their day in court – Westerly News


Although a court date has not been set, the Area G Trollers Association’s case was not dismissed after Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) counter-filed in an attempt to throw it out. The association has filed a lawsuit over the Pacific Salmon Treaty’s (PST) $30 million US mitigation money and despite no court date being set the DFO has walked away from the West Coast Aquatic board.

“The federal government had filed an action to dismiss us, but the court dismissed their action,” Kathy Scarfo, Area G Trollers Association president, told the Westerly News.

The association has also filed for an injunction to hold off on the DFO’s decision to spend the $30 million.

According to Scarfo, the DFO announced spending a $1 million share on an individual transferable quota (ITQ), which changes it into a stock market commodity.

By changing the current system to ITQ from owner/operator it allows the larger corporations to rent out the share of fish.

“It’s a highly controversial process,” Scarfo said. “It’s not like there’s this huge amount of wealth out there…to pay rent on top of all [fishing fees].”

Then, a $500,000 share would be spent on economic development officers to the West Coast and approximately $29 million on the permanent license retirement program.

Scarfo said this plan does not benefit the Area G trollers who were most affected by the PST ratified one year ago, which was the Canadian federal government’s agreement with the US to harvest 30 per cent less from the West Coast fleet.

At the October 12 District of Ucluelet council meeting Mayor Eric Russcher said the DFO had walked away from sitting on the WCA board due to conflict of interest regarding the PST.

“I attended the WCA meeting, there was just a little bit of turmoil in there,” Russcher said. “A lot of it was, of course, created by the PST and our extreme displeasure in how they were handling it.”

Russcher said the DFO’s decision to pull its seat is being appealed.

“If they [leave] it takes our teeth and effectiveness away without them sitting at the table to discuss these issues,” he explained. “Hopefully we will get this resolved.”

Russcher also received a response from DFO Minister Gail Shea after council sent two correspondences in June regarding the PST.

“Since this matter is before the courts, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further,” she wrote in the September 17 letter. “Consequently, I am unable to meet with you to discuss this issue.”

The WCA did not return a request to comment by Westerly press deadline.

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