In October 2003 the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and representatives of the groundfish industry created the Commercial Groundfish Integrated Advisory Committee (CGIAC) to establish a strategic approach for the future direction of the commercial groundfish industry. The Commercial Industry Caucus is an internal industry working group of the CGIAC, comprised of license holders and processors, bringing its recommendations to the CGIAC for approval and action.
Meeting monthly, the CIC is mandated to develop recommendations for the implementation of limited entry and/or IVQs as well as new allocation formulas for the Lingcod, Dogfish and ZN Rockfish sectors of the commercial groundfish industry. The CIC also explores and recommends action on rockfish bycatch, progressive fisheries management, security of access, at sea monitoring and other issues facing the commercial groundfish industry as it moves toward an integrated model. The CIC is guided by the five criteria laid out in the Commercial Groundfish Initiative:
- All rockfish catch must be accounted for
- Rockfish catches will be managed according to established rockfish management areas
- Fishermen will be individually accountable for their catch
- New monitoring standards will be established and implemented to meet the above 3 objectives
- Species of concern will be closely examined and actions such as reduction of TAGs and other catch limits will be considered and implemented to be consistent with the precautionary approach for management
All CIC recommendations are framed to meet the following objectives, created in response to the above criteria in order to advance the inshore rockfish conservation strategy, support catch monitoring standards under the Pacific fishery monitoring and reporting framework and address concerns arising from the new Species at Risk Act.
- Conservation measures supported by accepted scientific research and assessment methodologies
- Sustainable harvesting and monitoring of all rockfish and groundfish species
- Continued economic viability of the groundfish fisheries so that the industry can continue to provide economic benefit to Canada and generate jobs and incomes in B.C.'s coastal communities
- Allowable catches according to established species-by-area-specific management
- Fair access to rockfish and groundfish stocks
- Accountability for all rockfish and groundfish caught
- Monitoring standards and delivery practices that promote individual accountability and protection of groundfish stocks in a cost efficient manner
- Responsiveness to shifting concerns regarding all groundfish species
These objectives are phrased to address the five standards listen in the Commercial Groundfish Initiative The work of the Commercial Industry Caucus, in its five month’s tenure, has created a substantial body of work. It has generated an overall vision of and guiding principles for an integrated groundfish fishery on the west coast. In addition, it has made substantial gains in supporting individual sectors within the fishery to create management regimes that will ensure conservation of groundfish stocks.