Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Fisheries and Oceans

Issue 17 - Evidence, October 28, 2003


OTTAWA, Tuesday, October 28, 2003

The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans met this day at 7:12 p.m. to examine and report upon the matters relating to quota allocations and benefits to Nunavut and Nunavik fishermen.

Senator Gerald J. Comeau (Chairman) in the Chair.

[Editor's Note: Some evidence was presented through an Inuktitut interpreter.]

[English]

The Chairman: I call the meeting to order. We will continue our examination and report on matters relating to quota allocations and benefits to Nunavut and Nunavik fishermen.

Tonight we are very fortunate to have, from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and no stranger to the committee, David Bevan, who is the Director General of the Resource Management Directorate in Fisheries Management. Welcome to the committee. I understand you have some opening comments, Mr. Bevan.

Mr. David Bevan, Director General, Resource Management Directorate, Fisheries Management, Department of Fisheries and Oceans: Before I do make a short presentation in response to some of the witnesses the committee has heard from in the past, I would like to make a few introductory remarks. One of the most challenging functions that both the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans and fisheries managers in general have to undertake is that of determining, or recommending, in our case, who gets access, that is, who gets to fish, and allocation, that is, how much those individuals who are provided with access can actually take, what is their share of the total allowable catch.

The reasons these functions are so challenging is that notwithstanding the fact that the Atlantic fisheries generate a great deal of wealth and continued to provide an opportunity for Atlantic Canadians to live in their coastal communities and draw benefits, the needs of fishers and coastal communities still exceed the ability of the resource to respond. Even with over $1 billion in landed value, we still cannot respond to all of the requests that we get, and each year we get a great number of requests for additional access. Somebody who is not yet allowed to fish in a particular fishery will request entry into it, and more generally, we get a lot of requests for more allocations, as you have been hearing from witnesses in the recent past, and unfortunately these cannot all be met.

In some rare cases, there are dramatic increases in values and abundance. In those cases, which are unfortunately so rare, decisions can be made to allow new access to people who have not previously had an opportunity to participate in those fisheries.

Those decisions would be based on and guided by the work of the Independent Panel on Access Criteria and recommendations that they make to the minister that are accepted. Those recommendations are limited to new access, new entrants into a fishery.

I know you have heard witnesses refer to the IPAC in the past, but that advice was limited to providing new access or the possibility of having new entrants in a particular fishery. In most cases, however, that is not the reality. We almost always have fully subscribed fisheries. TACs are completely divided into quotas among various fishery interests and fleets.

In recent years, to provide more clarity to the framework for our decision-making process and to explain it more clearly to the stakeholders of coastal communities and fishers, we have been conducting the Atlantic Fisheries Policy Review, or the AFPR. Certainly Nunavut, the provinces and all stakeholders have been involved in discussions and consultations over the last three years.

Those consultations have resulted in four anchors guiding the process or the policies for the Atlantic fishery, and although they are currently still under consideration, I think are pretty well agreed to. They are, first, conservation and sustainable use. Obviously, without conservation and the sustainable use of the resource, we will not be able to support the fisheries and the coastal communities.

The second is self-reliant fisheries — fisheries that have the ability to make enough out of the resource in a sustainable way, so that they can actually participate in the stewardship of that resource, as well as making sure that the enterprises can be viable when provided with that opportunity.

The third anchor is shared stewardship, where fishers should be taking more responsibility for conservation, for monitoring control and surveillance, participating in management decisions, et cetera.

The last is stable and transparent access and allocation processes, and that latter is essential. If we do not have stability, then people will not participate in the shared stewardship. Why would they invest their time and money in activities to ensure conservation of the resource, only to find out that the rewards for those activities are taken away and given to others? It is the same with self-reliant fisheries. People will not make the adjustments within their fisheries and fleets to become self-reliant if they are not convinced that the rewards will rest with them and the resources will not be transferred from their fleet to others.

The four anchors are all interdependent. Without access and allocation stability, it will be impossible to have shared stewardship or self-reliant fisheries. In the end, we will not create the motivations for fishermen to conserve the stock. Why would they conserve today if in the future the rewards are not going to be returned to them? That is the underlying reason there has been a great desire to bring stability to the access and allocation decisions that have been made in the past.

We have also had the last three ministers reconfirm that in statements they have made regarding the fact that they would respect fleet shares in order to avoid having the quotas-sharing arrangements in individual fisheries opened up every year, disrupting the fleets' activities and causing people to not focus on what they need to do to conserve the stocks, ensure the fisheries are self-reliant and deal with entering into shared stewardship. All they would be doing is fighting for a bigger piece of the pie. We have seen that in the past and that is why we have also have seen the last three ministers indicate that they supported fleet shares.

We receive allocation requests on an ongoing basis. The reason why we have difficulty in responding to them all is that with fully subscribed fisheries, the only way is to deprive somebody else of an allocation that they had in the past. We have tried to move to multi-year plans, and indeed, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, when they appeared here, indicated that in the decisions they make about quota allocations, they also look at multi-year plans and providing some stability, for no doubt the same reasons.

That is the context we have to consider in dealing with requests for more quota. We are also, in considering those requests, dealing with some of the fundamental principles that guide the decision-making process. Adjacency is an important component of allocation decisions, but they are also based on historical dependency and ensuring that the individuals who developed the fishery in the first place will not be removed from that fishery.

There needs to be fairness that respects both the issues of adjacency and historical dependence, recognizing that those who made the initial investment to develop a fishery should not suffer from arbitrary decisions to remove them in order to reward someone else.

That is a general context that has guided some of the decisions that have been made in the past. I can go through the decisions that have been made with respect to turbot and northern shrimp more specifically, if that is acceptable.

We have provided a deck on quota allocations and benefits to Nunavut and Nunavik fishermen with respect to Sub- Area 0 Greenland halibut. Turbot in Davis Strait is part of the stock in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Sub-Areas 0 + 1 and is shared by Canada and Greenland. As coastal states, both Canada and Greenland have traditionally requested the NAFO Scientific Council to provide scientific advice on this stock. Sub-Area 0, in the Canadian zone, is further divided into 0A in the north and 0B in the south.

While we share this resource with Greenland, we do not have a common understanding on how that is to be done. There is no agreement between Greenland and Canada as to the actual sharing arrangements. There is one TAC for both countries and we fish it basically in an independent way, so there are some concerns regarding that, obviously.

In the early to mid-1990s, Nunavut interests put their emphasis on development of an inshore fishery by long-lining through the ice. During that time, there was a push to have fishermen who were based further south focus on exploratory fishing in the offshore areas. We had two different strategies employed in the development of this fishery, one from southern interests, who were looking at the offshore, and one from Nunavut that was looking at the inshore. Total allowable catch in Sub-Area 0 + 1 turbot was reduced in 1994 from 25,000 metric tons to 11,000 metric tons. That had the unfortunate result that we ended up with the Canadian share being fully subscribed, whereas the TAC had not been fully subscribed previously. The people who had developed the offshore fishery in previous years were using all the available TAC for Canada. That left us with 5,500 metric tons in our area.

The Division 0B fishery has been fully subscribed since the Canadian quota was reduced in 1994. In 2001, a TAC of 4,000 metric tons was established for the first time in offshore areas of 0A and 1A, based on the recommendations of the NAFO Scientific Council, and that TAC was increased to 8,000 metric tons this year.

The allocations to Nunavut fishermen have increased from 100 metric tons in 1998, or less than one per cent of 0B quota, based on inshore participation at the time, to the current 1,500-metric-ton allocation of the Canadian Division 0B. Notwithstanding the fact that the allocations were completely subscribed, there has been a move over recent years to increase the Nunavut share of the allocations in 0B. It should be noted that during the same period, the Canadian quota went down in that area. We were going down in quota at the same time as the Nunavut share was going up.

From 1996 to 2000, Nunavut interests were permitted to proceed with an exploratory fishery in 0A and harvest approximately 300 metric tons of Greenland halibut each year. Beginning in 2001, the quota of 3,500 metric tons was established in 0A, all of which was provided to Nunavut fishermen. Again, consistent with the adjacency principle, and in recognition of their participation in the development of the fishery, they received 100 per cent of that quota.

While the department has had a commitment to provide Nunavut interests with 50 per cent of any increase in the Canadian Sub-Area 0 turbot quota, to date, they have received 100 per cent. At a meeting in 2000, Minister Dhaliwal made the commitment to provide 100 per cent of the 0A turbot increases that year to Nunavut.

For the past two years, Nunavut fishermen have received approximately 58 per cent of the Canadian Sub-Area 0 quota. That is 0A and B. The graph on the next page shows the increase in Nunavut's percentage share over the years, and I think indicates there has been a response to the desire of Nunavut for greater access to turbot in waters adjacent to their territory.

As for the current situation, it is correct that they have 27.27 per cent of the quota in 0B. Obviously, that is not as much as Nunavut would like. There has been no determination that the stocks in 0A and B are actually separate. All the turbot in 0A has been allocated to Nunavut interests, and therefore, the overall result has been the more than 50 per cent — 58 per cent or so — provided to Nunavut.

In Division 0B, Nunavut fishermen once again received 1,500 metric tons of the 5,500 quota, which they can fish inshore or in the offshore fishery. In 0A, the department has provided Nunavut interests with an initial allocation of 4,000 metric tons. This could be increased — and there has been a request to the minister to increase that quota this year — but only in the event that doing so will not jeopardize conservation of the stock. That is being considered as we speak.

Nunavik interests in the Davis Strait are well served under the Nunavik offshore agreement in principle. The conclusion, from our perspective, is that under section 15.3.7 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, the government is to recognize the importance of principles of adjacency and economic dependence of communities in the Nunavut Settlement Area and give special consideration to these factors when allocating commercial fishing licences in adjacent fishing waters.

I believe the data would indicate that that is what has happened in recent years, and while there is no consideration of new groundfish licences in Atlantic Canada, we have recognized the above-noted principles by providing disproportionate increases in quota to Nunavut interests. The Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has announced that he has accepted an Independent Panel on Access Criteria recommendation that no additional access — and I stress again, that is new entrants to the fishery — should be granted to non-Nunavut interests in waters adjacent to the new territory until Nunavut has achieved access to a major share of its adjacent fishery resources.

As noted in the response to the IPAC recommendation, the aspirations of the territorial government and the people of the new territory of Nunavut to increase and diversity their fisheries sector are and will continue to be supported by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The minister and DFO have worked to assist Nunavut in achieving its goals in recent years by increasing Nunavut interests' access to turbot and shrimp, the two major commercial fisheries in the area.

Again, we understand the desire to move ahead. We are constrained in our response to that desire by the need to respect the fact that other interests developed the fishery in 0B and have had historical attachment to it over the last 10 years or so. To take fish from them in order to respond to the Nunavut requests would have a deleterious effect on our desire to bring stability, conservation ethics, shared stewardship and self-reliance to the fishery.

We are sympathetic, and have demonstrated a willingness to respond by increasing the access of Nunavut in its adjacent waters, but the speed with which we can do that is constrained by the need to respect the rights of others and to follow some principles in making these allocation decisions. If we did not, chaos would be the recipe. We would have a very difficult time maintaining order in the fishery, getting people to invest in restructuring of fisheries and conserving stocks and working with us in sharing the stewardship.

If I can turn now to the shrimp fishery, and then I am sure there will numerous questions. The northern shrimp fishery began in 1978 following a short exploratory fishery. This has a long history, obviously. It is based primarily on a single species, Pandalus borealis, or northern or pink shrimp. A second species, Pandalus montagui, or striped shrimp, has been receiving increased commercial interest since 2002. In 1978, northern shrimp commercial offshore fishing licences were issued for Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec-based interests.

In 1987, Nunavut interests — at the time, the Baffin Region Inuit Association — were provided access through the issuance of additional offshore licences, specifically 1.5 licences that are still held to this day by Nunavut interests. In 1991, following the issuance of one more licence to a Newfoundland-and-Labrador-based company, Nunavut held 8.8 per cent of the total northern shrimp resource in adjacent waters. I believe that percentage is still held today.

Although not adjacent, in 1997, an allocation of 6,120 metric tons was made to the northern coalition in shrimp fishing area, SFA, 5, which is farther south. I should point out that the vast majority of shrimp is found in more southern areas, even though it extends quite far north. Nunavut shared in 1.5 of 7 licences belonging to this organization, resulting in another 1,311 metric tons of northern shrimp being allocated to Nunavut interests.

In 1999, an additional 1,750 metric tons of northern shrimp were allocated to Nunavut interests in SFA 2, bringing Nunavut's interests in adjacent shrimp resources up to 16.9 per cent. That 16.9 per cent is of the shrimp resources adjacent to Nunavut, not all northern shrimp resources.

In 2000, the only quota increase in waters adjacent to Nunavut was 500 metric tons of Pandalus montagui in SFA 3, a little south of 2, obviously, which was entirely allocated to Nunavut, bringing their share of adjacent shrimp resources up to 18 per cent. There were no increases in 2001, and therefore the percentage share remained the same.

Then the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization Scientific Council recommended an increase in Pandalus borealis in SFA 1 for 2001, but this increase was not allocated until 2002 due to low catch rates. There were requests from the offshore shrimp industry to implement the 2001 NAFO recommended increase in SFA 1 in 2002. This was due to the increased catch rates at the time. An increase of 2,690 metric tons was allocated to the existing commercial offshore licence holders, including the 8.8 per cent share for the Nunavut interests.

In 2002, there was also an increase of Pandalus montagui in SFAs 2 and 3. Nunavut interests received 100 per cent of these quotas, resulting in their share of adjacent resources moving up to 24.5 per cent. In 2003, an increase to the SFA 1 quota of Pandalus borealis of 2,127 metric tons was allocated 51 per cent to Nunavut, 8.8 per cent to Makivik, and the remainder to the offshore licence holders. That brought Nunavut's share of the adjacent shrimp resource to 26.4 per cent.

We make these allocation decisions recognizing historical endeavours to develop a fishery and long-term connections to the fishery, but as you can see, we have also endeavoured to provide larger shares to Nunavut as those quotas went up in the waters adjacent to Nunavut.

That is demonstrated in the table on the next page, where in 1996, Nunavut had 8.8 per cent, and you can see the gradual increase in share to 26.4 per cent in 2003. That is graphically noted on the following page, where you can see the Nunavut share of quota increases in recent years and how Nunavut has received a little more than half of those quota increases.

There is here an explanation of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' interpretation of the Independent Panel on Access Criteria recommendations and why we disagree with the position taken by Nunavut on that issue. Given the current litigation, I do not think I want to go too deeply into that.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I will take questions.

The Chairman: I want to get one clarification of something on page 9 of your turbot document, under the title, ``Current Situation,'' at the bottom of the page. The very last line states:

Notwithstanding this, 100 percent of the two turbot quota increases in Sub-Area 0 since then have been provided exclusively to Nunavut interests.

Mr. Bevan: Yes.

The Chairman: My understanding is that if we are talking about Sub-Area 0, we are talking about 0A and 0B.

Mr. Bevan: Yes, the way this is stated, that is correct.

The Chairman: It is stated that 100 per cent of turbot quota increases have been allocated to Nunavut. Now, we have been led to believe that this was not the case; that a certain amount of the percentage had been allocated to other interests.

Mr. Bevan: I will just check with my colleague.

The Chairman: You might want to check this out. This is completely contrary to what we have been told.

Mr. Bevan: Certainly in 0A, 100 per cent went to Nunavut. We will have to check the allocations in 0B to make sure that that is in fact accurate. It mentions the late 1990s, which is not exactly specific, and there have been no been opportunities for increases recently, so this may be a time —

The Chairman: Or even in this past year, the increase was certainly not 100 per cent to Nunavut.

Mr. Bevan: We will check on the actual amount in 0B, because the way it is stated, it would be 0A and B, and that may be an error.

The Chairman: That definitely seems to be wrong. It would make our current study not all that useful, at least in the case of turbot, because it would have answered all the questions raised by some of our members on that issue. Now, the shrimp fishery is something else.

Mr. Bevan: In the shrimp fishery it is not 100 per cent, obviously.

The Chairman: I am quite sure this statement is wrong; I would like to have that confirmed, if I could.

Mr. Bevan: We will get back to the committee on that with a clarification or correction.

The Chairman: Thank you.

Senator Watt: Leezee Papatsie has written a letter to Mr. Reid and also to me and copied to Senator Adams, requesting DFO support for fishing beyond 200 miles.

First of all, what are the rules for access beyond the 200-mile limit?

Mr. Bevan: She has requested access to turbot, snow crab, flounder and skate, I understand. Turbot, flounder and skate are all subject to NAFO consideration. Turbot and flounder are what is called ``regulated species,'' so NAFO would set the TACs and management measures for those outside the 200-mile limit.

There is no current quota system with respect to skate, so there is no TAC established and no quota for each of the contracting parties. In that case, there would be somewhat more flexibility. However, I should point out there is a great deal of concern about skate conservation. It has been raised by a number of contracting parties to NAFO. Their concern is that there is a need now to move towards a management regime within NAFO.

That was discussed at the last annual meeting but there is no resolution of the issue. I am fairly certain it will be brought up again at the 2004 meeting. In the case of those three groundfish species, there will be some role for NAFO to play. With respect to turbot, as you are aware, there has been a significant drop in the total allowable catch in the NAFO regulatory area. That has meant that the current Canadian quota, our share of that TAC, is essentially fully subscribed. We do not have any more room for expansion in that fishery because of the drop in the total allowable catch that was established as a conservation measure and as part of a multi-year rebuilding plan for turbot.

Flounder has been subject to a moratorium, and this document is not specific as to what species. I just received this so you will have to bear with me for a second. This does not indicate what kind, so we will have to receive a little more information, but the Canadian share of yellowtail is fully allocated to current companies that hold the quota. I am unable, therefore, to respond specifically on that one. If it is not yellowtail, then it is likely a species that is under a moratorium, so there is not a lot of room for manoeuvre in either turbot or flounder.

We could consider looking at skate, but I would say that there is a great deal of concern regarding conservation of skate and a desire to get that species, too, under a quota system within NAFO, and that would result in fairly limited opportunities.

Senator Watt: What about snow crab?

Mr. Bevan: Snow crab has been subject to a great amount of work outside of 200 miles. I am not sure exactly what potential area she is looking at. We have managed snow crab off the east coast of Newfoundland to allow for exploratory fisheries outside of 200 miles.

Those fisheries, again, are fully subscribed. As you might be aware, we have had to have some reductions in crab quotas in the past, and there are a great many participants. The fleets are divided into a number of subcomponents, some of which have been given access outside of 200 miles. It is not clear that there would actually be any opportunity there, because 3K south, where the fish are most likely available, is in waters off the Newfoundland coast. I should point out that there was a substantial reduction in 2J quotas last year. Abundance of snow crab outside of 200 miles would probably be restricted to areas quite far south; more likely not off the coast of Labrador but off the coast of the Island of Newfoundland. I do not think there would be a lot of opportunity there.

It is hard to respond on the spot, but it is certainly very difficult, with respect to crab, to find access for new entrants, and also the other three species that would involve the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization.

Senator Watt: What would you recommend, given she has been given 45 days to fish, and I would imagine it is already too late this year?

She has been given 45 days to fish. She argues that it is not economically feasible for her to concentrate only on an area where she has been given a quota — unlimited quota, actually — with a 45-day restriction.

If she continues to argue that it is not economically viable to go out unless she is permitted to fish outside of the 200- mile limit, how do we deal with that?

Mr. Bevan: I was not able to read these before the meeting.

Senator Watt: Do you want to read them first and get back to me later?

Mr. Bevan: I think it would be more appropriate.

The Chairman: I was going to raise that, because it is a little unfair to place him in that position right now.

Senator Adams: We have the same problem. I think Mr. Bevan is reading it right now.

The Chairman: It is somewhat inappropriate.

Mr. Bevan: I think the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board gave approval for the 45 days. I can understand that it is a very difficult challenge to make that a viable proposition.

To augment that by fishing outside of 200 miles for the species listed is very unlikely to be possible. With turbot, that is primarily due to the fact it is managed by NAFO, and Canadian allocations are fully subscribed now after the reduction in the quota that took place as a result of the conservation measures imposed.

On flounder, I do not what species she is specifying. If it is yellowtail flounder, it is found quite far to the south, in waters off the nose and tail of the Grand Banks. That is a fully subscribed Canadian fishery and there would be no extra quota available there. If it is not, then it is most likely under a moratorium. On the skate, there is some flexibility to consider something there, but we will be moving with other contracting parties to try to bring in management measures that will make it difficult to have that available in the longer term.

The crab is a fully subscribed fishery off the waters adjacent to Newfoundland, so it is essentially very difficult for us to respond positively and augment our fishing opportunities beyond what was provided by the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board.

The Chairman: You might want to pursue a different line of questioning.

Senator Adams: On that lease application for the 200-mile limit that you mentioned, do you have any record now of any company in that area with a concern that another company might have quotas for outside the 200-mile limits?

Mr. Bevan: The Canadian quotas for the yellowtail are fished inside 200 miles, but that does not mean that we are limited there. Right now, the entire quota is essentially allocated to a small number of Canadian companies. There is no spare quota to speak of with respect to yellowtail flounder. Again, that would be a southern species.

Canadian interests are fishing for turbot generally inside 200 miles, but because the rules are set by NAFO, our share is capped. We cannot add more effort and take more fish. We are obliged to live within our quota, and that is currently fully allocated to companies.

The only one left, therefore, is skate, but that is not found in northern waters. I think it is more abundant in 3N, in those areas, and less so farther north. It is extremely difficult to find something. You have to go far to the south to get out of that Davis Strait area, where the 200-mile limit actually allows you to go outside and still be on some fishing grounds.

Senator Adams: Anyway, one here is on 0B. I think I gave you a map. I do not know if you have a copy or not, Mr. Bevan. There is a small area outside of 0B, and I think we can see it on your map.

Mr. Bevan: Yes, I can see that.

Senator Adams: What is it in there? Is it turbot?

Mr. Bevan: I cannot tell, from the map I have been given, how deep that water is, so I do not know if there is anything in there. If it is off the continental shelf, in waters that are several kilometres deep, it will not be a lot of use in terms of fishing for turbot, et cetera, even if we did not have other problems.

If there is fish in an area, my experience is someone is fishing it already, one way or the other. I am not sure that is the case there. We have had, in 1F, a little farther to the south, a lot of activity on oceanic redfish in pelagic waters, but I do not know what would be in that particular triangle.

Senator Adams: I think it is good that we question people, so the viewers, especially in Nunavut, might be able to understand a little.

[Interpretation]

My first question will be with regards to what DFO has said in the past year about the $56 million that was made available for fisheries science since April 2003. None of that went to Nunavut. Nunavut says it will need about $50 million from the government to get the infrastructure they need in place.

Two years ago, we heard from the Minister of DFO that the $200 million would be used for fisheries in the rest of Canada. You may already have heard about the jobs that have been shut down because they were not given a licence by DFO. I was up there just last year for about 10 months, and they were given the experimental clams licence. Now their program has been shut down. Can you share any information on that?

[English]

Mr. Bevan: I will get out of my own area of responsibility and just touch on these, but I cannot go into too many details, as they are areas that others are responsible for. We have seen certainly the request for infrastructure, and that is another example of where no matter what area of the country on which you are focusing, you will find that requests will exceed the available resources.

I cannot really respond on the requests for small craft harbours, or harbour infrastructure that goes beyond small craft to larger installations, as I am not really up to speed on the real property management within the department. It might be best to put that question directly to them, or we can undertake to get a written response back to the committee.

I can tell you, and perhaps you are aware, there is a departmental alignment and assessment process underway to try to more closely align our expenditures with our priorities and those of our stakeholders and clients.

I would be reluctant to try to comment on these issues, as I am not really familiar with them. On science, yes, there is a budget of about $200 million. I am not sure we can say categorically that none of that money is spent in Nunavut, but clearly there is a great demand in the south and in the north. This is an issue that is being considered by the department as we speak. There is a lot of work underway that the department is hoping to bring to some conclusion in the next month or so regarding where we spend money and what we require of science in support of programs such as fisheries management.

That is an issue that will be discussed and will have to be dealt with in the near future, and there may be something more to report to the committee in the not-too- distant future; I would hope in another month or two.

I can say that we have, for example, on the northern shrimp, set up a process whereby some of the quota has been transferred to a board that will develop or use that to create funds for research, and predominantly in the north. When we say, ``research on shrimp,'' because it will involve research vessel tows, it will provide more than just information on shrimp. In the future, it will provide information on other species. It will of course take time, because we do not have a time series of data, so we cannot track trends over a period of years until we start that process and it is only in its initial stages. It is a step in the right direction in trying to get more information regarding both shrimp and other species in the northern extent of the range.

With respect to clams, I have been asked by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to make sure that I do not attempt to speak on their behalf, and I will not. However, we understand there were a lot of negotiations going on between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the interested parties in Nunavut, the divers' association, et cetera.

There was an attempt to come up with a sampling and testing process that would have allowed the fishery to proceed. I am not sure of all the details, but obviously that has not come to a conclusion. As a result, the department chose to take the position we should not issue licences to harvest a product that could not be demonstrated to be safe for the consumers, both in Nunavut and elsewhere.

Once the arrangements are worked out between CIFA and the divers, et cetera, then that is something we can certainly revisit and we would be happy to issue the licences. We do need to ensure that licences are not issued to permit people to harvest a product that then cannot be put through a process to prove it is safe. This is essentially where we are on that particular issue. I would hope that the CIFA could provide a more full explanation of the status of the discussions and their view on what has to be done to move it to a conclusion.

The Chairman: Mr. Bevan, if you would undertake to get back to us with a departmental response on the infrastructure question, small craft harbours and so on.

If committee members agree, I will undertake to write a letter to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to find out the current status of the inspection of the clams, so that we can get our fishermen, the divers, out there after this resource as soon as possible. I cannot see letting this just sit down there if it is usable. I will endeavour to write a letter to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to find out what is happening; if nothing is happening, we will certainly get them before the committee to see if we can speed things along.

Senator Hubley: My question, Mr. Bevan, concerned the infrastructure, because we heard that theme several times from the fishers. I know we will have an answer to that and we certainly will appreciate that.

When the fishery is allocated to different interests, do the applications come from established fisheries organizations and is there some consideration for the people who would be living adjacent to that fishery?

Mr. Bevan: We get them from all quarters. We get them from established fisheries organizations or from groups that already have access and are looking to increase their allocations. We have requests from people who have been involved in the development of a fishery to have their developmental licences turned into permanent licences, et cetera.

Certainly, if fishers have come forward with proposals for emerging fisheries and doing experimental work in areas adjacent to them, they receive very high priority for access and allocation because they have both done the developmental work and demonstrated that they are adjacent to the resource. Those two factors weigh in their favour in making the decisions.

Difficulties often arise when people develop a fishery to the point where an experimental licence becomes a permanent licence and it is quite lucrative. Then a lot of other people want in on it, including some who may be adjacent to the fishery but never had an attachment to it during the developmental stages.

That kind of situation arises often, and creates a challenge for us in being fair to those who made the investment to get the fishery up and running, got the markets going and started to get a return in terms of good margins and viable enterprises. How do you protect their interests and at the same time allow adjacent fishers in?

We have had that challenge in the past with respect to shrimp in waters adjacent to Newfoundland, as well as crab, where those who developed the shrimp fishery were provided with some guarantees that their share will never drop below a certain level. If it does go down, they will be considered a priority in making the allocation decisions, but the people adjacent did receive a significant opportunity to fish those stocks.

As a result of a huge increase, that fishery, which used to be 37,000 metric tons, is almost 150,000 metric tons right now, and showing no apparent signs of weakness.

Senator Hubley: The requests on behalf of the fishers from Nunavut that were made to the committee seemed modest. You brought up the sense of fairness, and it seems to be an issue of what comes first, trying to get into the fishery without the facilities or trying to utilize what they felt was their resource — in a fair way; I do not think they made the argument that they wanted it all. It would be nice to think that there is some sensitivity to the people in the adjacent areas, but I think it will also take some support.

They will need the infrastructure in order to utilize that, to develop their communities and create jobs. We will get an answer on the infrastructure, but that is where my question was coming from. It seemed to be very important to them; they did need some resources before they could fully utilize their fishery.

Mr. Bevan: I think it is clear that the more access you have, the more able you are to attract the investment for infrastructure, and vice versa, but in this case, it is a matter of balance. We are trying to seek a balance between stability and recognition of those who developed the fisheries, and the desire of coastal communities adjacent to the resource to play a greater part. That is the challenge we have.

We think we have demonstrated, through the evidence of the increased share in Nunavut waters for Nunavut interests, that we are sensitive and moving as fast as we can, given the circumstances and the need to be fair. We have been asked to eliminate a certain player, for example, from the turbot fisheries, just remove that individual and give the fish to Nunavut interests. It is difficult for us to contemplate that kind of activity, because it undermines the desire to create a stable resource and a stable situation that allows the industry to play a greater role in shared stewardship and become economically viable by restructuring themselves.

We understand and we are sensitive to the desire of Nunavut interests and people in Nunavut to have access to those adjacent resources, and we want to facilitate that, but in a way that respects others and past activities. That has perhaps caused the process to be slower than people in Nunavut would otherwise want. Having said that, I think you can see we are making progress, although not as quickly as desired by the coastal communities in the area.

Senator Hubley: I just wanted to say that we certainly see that the shrimp quota is increasing. What do you think the potential there is for the Nunavut fishers? It is now at 26.4 per cent, and it has been going up each year except, as I think you mentioned, in 2001. That is very good. Do you see it continuing to increase year by year?

Mr. Bevan: I think we will have to be cautious on this. I know there is a desire to continue to look at opportunities to respond to the people of Nunavut in this area, but we have a serious problem with respect to shrimp markets.

The quotas have gone up, not just in Canada but also around the North Atlantic, to the point where it is difficult for people to make money. The quota goes up, you can get access to more, but if you cannot make money from what you are fishing, it is hardly a great benefit. We will have to be careful.

In addition, the shrimp fishery is quite complex in terms of how we have broken up the quota among all the areas, so providing a little more access in one area means that we might have to make adjustments throughout the whole management plan.

I can say we are sympathetic. We have tried to maximize the opportunities in Nunavut. To do so further is going to require quite a lot of creative thinking in terms of how the overall plan comes together. Even if there is an opportunity for increasing the total allowable catch based on scientific advice in the coming year, I am sure we will hear from the Northern Shrimp Advisory Committee, of which Nunavut is a member, on whether we should consider that or not, based on the economic performance of the fishery. It is up to them to provide us with advice on whether they want to move farther down that road or not.

We will have to consider that, the conservation dimension and all of those issues in trying to come up with a response that helps Nunavut move in the right direction. I cannot say right now whether it will go from 25.5 per cent to X per cent. That would be trying to peer into the mists, because this will happen next March or April, which is well beyond what is foreseeable right now and certainly would require a lot of debate and discussion. We have not had that with other stakeholders and with the scientists, et cetera, so I cannot tell you right now what might happen, but I can say we are trying to provide increased opportunities in Nunavut.

Senator Cook: I am looking at my map here and at the concentration of areas. Now, this is a NAFO-regulated fishing area, is it not?

Mr. Bevan: Those areas on the map that you are looking at were defined by the NAFO Convention.

Senator Cook: Who sets the quota, NAFO or Canada?

Mr. Bevan: It depends on where you are fishing and what you are fishing for.

Senator Cook: Let's talk about 0A and 0B.

Mr. Bevan: For 0A and 0B turbot, we get advice from the NAFO Scientific Council on the total allowable catch. Then we sit down with Greenland and discuss how we should share that.

To date, those discussions have not resulted in any agreement, and therefore we have said we will take 50 per cent as an initial quota in 0A, for example, and that we will determine what happens as the fishing season progresses. Generally, we do not wish to see any fishing activity that might exceed the total allowable catch suggested or recommended by the NAFO Scientific Council, but we also do not feel that in the event that the TAC will not be exceeded, that we should be curtailed by sticking rigidly to the 50 per cent. We are not as obligated to do so there as we would be in other situations.

Senator Cook: Do we fish the 50 per cent?

Mr. Bevan: The starting quota is 50 per cent. In the event that is taken, we will consider going beyond it, depending on the Greenland catch, et cetera.

Senator Cook: Do you have a running account of the Greenland catch?

Mr. Bevan: We have an estimate only. We do not have very good information on that.

Senator Cook: You do not have a collaborative program out there.

Mr. Bevan: No, we do not.

Senator Cook: Help me to understand the map. When you talk about certain areas where there is the 200-mile limit, there are places here that look very close. I am looking for the area of the 200-mile limit, which would be in the far north, and in the south, near the Labrador Sea? Would that be the area?

Mr. Bevan: It is generally the equidistant line between Nunavut and Greenland. You can see that is joined together all the way up. That means there is one line that is equidistant, and only down toward the northern Cape Chidley, or southern portion of Baffin Island; do you see that line split? It is the one with the little fish along on it on my map that splits out and that point is your 200-mile limit. I do not know if you are looking at the same map. The distances farther north are expanded, so it is not exactly to scale.

Senator Cook: I have established my area. Now if I look at my map further, I see dots where the turbot and shrimp fishing take place. I see we fish a fair amount of turbot compared to shrimp. If I look further, within the Nunavut Settlement Area, I see in Cumberland Sound one area where turbot is fished, and in Frobisher Bay here, I see a shrimp dot, and those are the only two dots I see within the Nunavut Settlement Area.

My question is, here we have a people who want to be self-sufficient and masters of their own destiny attempting to extract a resource that was allocated, in a fair way, to others; how do we help those people toward that end?

There are 13 communities or more, and I see one dot of turbot and one of shrimp. What can we do to help those people? They say they want to be ``independent.'' I say the word is complex, but also compelling for us in helping them realize that. How do we go about it?

Mr. Bevan: We are trying to move more fish over time to the people of Nunavut, recognize their adjacency, et cetera, and with every increase we look at that very carefully in our desire to respond to that need. However, no minister has yet contemplated taking away the quotas from those who started the fisheries in the first place and giving them to someone else, in this case, to Nunavut.

We are looking at development, expansion, if possible — if the resources can sustain it — experimental fisheries, et cetera. That is the kind of thing that has happened in the past and these are the areas where people are fishing, so this only reflects today's pattern. There may be other opportunities out there that we have not yet found or have yet to be dealt with. This reflects where fishermen go to get the fish today and there may be something else there that we have not yet been able to work up. I understand the desire to respond to that.

The big question is how do we do it. Do we do it by saying to others, ``You have had your shot, you have had your chance, it is time to take from you and give it to somewhere else''? That sends a very negative message throughout Atlantic Canada in terms of people's need to invest in conservation and to play a role in the fishing activities that will share the stewardship and the management of the resource, et cetera.

Senator Cook: I am not suggesting that we set a firewall around a resource. I am just trying to understand how we can help the people to be self-sufficient and to access the resource. Before we can share or take — and I understand this is not your area of expertise — we have to build an infrastructure, small craft harbours, and I suspect that is a big challenge for the North. Nunavut and DFO have a different interpretation of the Nunavut land claim settlement with respect to the allocation. How do we bridge that gap?

Mr. Bevan: Unfortunately that will not necessarily be through dialogue at this point because we are involved in litigation on that issue. That is not a very pleasant way to try to resolve anything but that is the path we are on at this point. We will explain our point of view and Nunavut will explain theirs and we will see what happens at the end of that.

We think we have it right and have provided documentation to that effect, but different views exist regarding what that section says, and we maintain that we are in fact trying to move as rapidly as we can within the confines of being fair to the existing participants as well as to the adjacent communities.

We are standing on our record in terms of shrimp and increasing turbot as demonstrating that it is moving that way. It is a matter of doing it in a way that will not disrupt the orderly conduct of fisheries throughout Atlantic Canada.

Senator Cook: I am a Newfoundlander. The last thing I want to see is this sustainable fishery that is presently in this area of my country go the way that the inshore fishery went. I can understand those people wanting to build capacity, to live where they want to live and to fish. They need harbours, markets. They need a lot of things, and I just hope that somehow or another we can build some consensus with all the stakeholders.

When I look at Greenland, a jurisdiction of a foreign country, Denmark, it is pretty close up there. We heard witnesses say there was nowhere to land their fish on Baffin Island, so they landed in Nuuk. That puts a whole new connotation on how we manage the fishery. I just wonder how sustainable that fishery is. Do we have monitoring signs to make sure that it stays sustainable?

Mr. Bevan: Clearly it is more complicated when you have two jurisdictions sharing a resource, even more so when we do not yet have a collaborative management regime and agreements on how we should share the TACs. That has been a risky process in the past.

We have seen that in a number of areas where we have had to share resources with some of our neighbours. Happily, in most cases, we have now reached consensus. We have arrangements for a lot of the stocks we share with the United States, we have a Canada-France arrangement with respect to St. Pierre and Miquelon, but it is something we are still working on in this area.

We meet with Greenland on a regular basis to try to work it out. It is a complicating factor. It increases risk and it means we have to be even more cautious with the resources up there. In any northern area, resources tend to grow slowly and are therefore susceptible to overfishing. We have to be careful with respect to our harvesting, the management regimes we put in place, the size of the total allowable catches, et cetera, to avoid damaging the resources.

Should we do so, it could take considerable time to rebuild them, and it would be a great tragedy to rush to open something up too quickly, only to find it is not sustainable and have the same situation occur in Nunavut as has occurred in other parts of the country.

Senator Trenholme Counsell: I am very interested in the report on the allocations to the Nunavut fishermen and the page devoted to halibut. At a time when nearly all resources, the quotas, et cetera, are going down, this is one that has gone up drastically. It should be good news, but when I asked the Nunavut fisher people, it did not seem to represent a very significant part of their livelihood at present or, perhaps, in the future. Yet there has been a very sizable increase. Actually, the tonnage at this point is half of the tonnage for turbot.

I would like an explanation of how this increase, from 300 metric tons to 4,000, has come about. Second, is this really on the Greenland side of the strait? Third, are the people of Nunavut able to access these quotas and what is the significance to them in terms of their total fishery, especially the economic aspects?

Mr. Bevan: The predominant increase took place in 0A. It was a result of the NAFO Scientific Council recommending an increase in TAC, first to 4,000, and then to 8,000. It is a stock that straddles the waters of both Canada and Greenland.

Our view is that the biomass is predominantly on the Canadian side — 60 per cent-plus — and we should have a larger share of the TAC than the 50 per cent, contrary to the position taken by Greenland.

This is a pretty hostile area that people are fishing in, so it is not something that can be done cheaply. It does require a large investment in equipment, large vessels, et cetera. That means that the wealth generated is not distributed amongst a large number of inshore fishermen with small vessels, et cetera.

Nunavut did attempt that in the initial development of the turbot fishery, using the gear through the ice, but in this case it is something that has to be fished by large vessels. What vessels are being used and how this access can provide opportunities and benefits for the people of Nunavut is still under development. Other vessels have been brought in from the south, or even, in the initial stages, from other countries, to fish it. It has not provided the jobs as of yet — we hope that will come to pass — or any significant onshore opportunities.

It is a valuable potential resource. It does take a lot of capital investment to fish it because of the hostile environment that people have to work in, and therefore it is not currently generating as much benefit as it could if the organizations moved to use Canadian vessels with crews from Nunavut. That will change.

Senator Trenholme Counsell: Approximately what percentage of the 4,000 metric tons is actually being harvested at this time?

Mr. Bevan: This year, for example, of the 4,000 metric tons available to Nunavut interests, over 3,000 tons has been taken. The last count was 3,800, a little more than the last number I had, which was only 3,025 metric tons. That was a few days ago.

There are four vessels fishing quite a number of metric tons per day. There has been a request for further quota, so it is not a paper fishery. It is a real fishery generating real opportunities, but at this point, some of those vessels are from the south, and earlier in the year, some were from other countries.

Senator Trenholme Counsell: Are there any requirements that these vessels hire people from Nunavut or a certain percentage of people, or they just lucky if they get a job on the vessels?

Mr. Bevan: We do not deal with that particular aspect. We give the allocation to the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board. It is up to them if they wish to set those kinds of criteria. That is their business, and how they go about fishing it we would leave to them.

Senator Trenholme Counsell: What do you mean by ``hostile waters''?

Mr. Bevan: It is cold, dangerous and dark a lot of the time. It is not the kind of place one goes in a small wooden vessel. It is a tough environment to operate in and it means you have to have a large, capable, seaworthy vessel that can handle the conditions and the gear necessary to fish in those conditions and handle the catch appropriately after it is landed.

Senator Trenholme Counsell: If 4,000 metric tons is being given to Nunavut, then most of that is being leased, or whatever is the proper term, to vessels from outside?

Mr. Bevan: That is the current arrangement. It is a new fishery. We have seen this in many other fisheries that were developed. When the northern shrimp fishery, for example, started off, there were requirements then to use foreign vessels for a short period of time until we could have what we call ``Canadianization.'' We went from foreign vessels to Canadian vessels with Canadian crews.

It takes some time, because expertise has to be developed, equipment has to be found, purchased and put in place, expertise in terms of crew has to be developed and it takes several years for that to happen.

Senator Trenholme Counsell: How did the Canadian government arrange this agreement with Greenland, because it seems to me we are talking about Greenland halibut?

Mr. Bevan: That is not theirs. That is just the title we use. That is the kind of fish. They definitely do not own it.

Senator Trenholme Counsell: There is Greenland halibut and some other kinds of halibut?

Mr. Bevan: That is right. Some people call yellowtail flounder ``Canadian flounder,'' but it does not mean we own it all.

Senator Trenholme Counsell: It is still turbot, is it?

Mr. Bevan: Yes.

Senator Mahovlich: I was wondering if the government ever gave loans to some of these Nunavut fishermen? It seemed to me that they were in dire need of a good-sized boat up there to do some of this fishing. As you say, they are fairly dangerous waters. Have they ever tried loaning funds to the Nunavut fishermen?

Mr. Bevan: Governments used to be more fully involved in that kind of activity. There used to be arrangements with provincial loan boards, for example, that would provide fishermen with funds to develop their vessels and to capitalize the fleets, et cetera.

There has been a marked tendency for governments to move away from that. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to reduce capacity. That is where we have been investing public funds in the last number of years, trying to get a balance between the fishing fleets and their requirement for the resource.

The resources have been overstressed since the early 1990s. We spent lots of money — I do not have the amount off the top of my head, but it was hundreds of millions of dollars — reducing capacity by retiring vessels. We just cannot think now about flipping that around and putting public funds into creating capacity. We have left that to the industry.

Generally, when we have provided access and allocation, people, companies, have been pretty innovative in forming partnerships, et cetera, and finding ways to get the equipment they need to prosecute the fishery, and then, over time, turning that into something that is more closely managed by the communities.

We have seen that in other fisheries, the northern shrimp, for example, as I mentioned earlier, where once you have access and allocation, you can look at partnerships with other companies that provide the fleet. Then you can work out the arrangements for crewing and where the catch is landed, et cetera. We have not wanted to intervene in that market since we last did so almost 15 or 20 years ago. The result was tremendous overcapacity, over-investment, and an imbalance between investment in the fleet and the ability of the resource to sustain it. We have been working on the other side of that ledger for quite some time.

Senator Mahovlich: Just out of curiosity, is there a demand for skate? I cannot recall ever walking into a restaurant and seeing it on the menu.

Mr. Bevan: There is a demand for skate. It is the skate wings, the fleshy wings, that are marketed, and I think you can see it in local fish markets. It is a white and fairly tasty fish that provides good flesh for consumption.

The Chairman: Makivik Corporation indicated in testimony a couple of weeks ago that they believe that OA is a nursery area for turbot that fed the little fish into the 0B area, in order to mature; that possibly, 0A might actually be the source area for all the turbot on the east coast. Do you have any ideas on this?

Mr. Bevan: I think it is fair to say that the intricacies of the biology of turbot populations are not fully understood. It is a difficult fish to understand in all its intricacies, as are most deep-sea fish, which is another reason we need to be cautious.

The NAFO Scientific Council is indicating to us that turbot is one stock. How it interacts north to south and whether or not that is the case is not clear, but they do not seem to indicate that there would be one small concentration of spawning turbot feeding an entire area.

In fact, we find that the dragging fisheries are generally targeted on smaller fish, as opposed to the large ones that are not caught in the drag, the trolling fisheries. There are juvenile fish throughout the zone.

The Chairman: Throughout the East Coast?

Mr. Bevan: Throughout the East Coast.

The Chairman: The jury is it still out on it. We need to do more science.

Mr. Bevan: There is a lot of science being done on turbot throughout the Atlantic coast, and certainly in the south, because of the interest of NAFO parties. We have contributions from Portugal, Spain, Russia, Canada, et cetera.

The Chairman: You refer to the turbot allocations as fleet shares. Would that be more or less the equivalent of EAs, enterprise allocations?

Mr. Bevan: No, you might have fixed gear fleet, mobile gear fleet, that kind of thing.

The Chairman: However, they are both quotas assigned to a company or to a vessel.

Mr. Bevan: In some cases they can be. We break up the total allowable catch into the Canadian quotas and then reassign it. Different kinds of gear are used to prosecute the fishery and each type would get a quota share.

The Chairman: I know you do not like the word ``privatized,'' because there is no such thing, but it is either ITQs or IQs or EAs.

Mr. Bevan: There is 1,500 metric tons out of 5,500; 4,000 metric tons is allocated to individual vessels and the other 1,500 is competitive.

The Chairman: Out of the 1,500, a great deal of it would be Nunavut stock probably, because that is not allocated to fleets or anything. I am just trying to get a handle on the amount of stock held in private hands.

Mr. Bevan: It would be 4,000 of the 5,500. My colleague is also indicating that the quota increases have gone 100 per cent to Nunavut because the information I am provided with indicates that in Division 0B, the Canadian quota has been set at 5,500 metric tons since 1994.

The Chairman: We want to go through that very carefully.

Mr. Bevan: In 0B, 5,500 metric tons has been the quota since 1994. There have been no quota increases in that division. In Division 0A, in 2001 the Canadian quota was increased to 3,500 metric tons from 300. In 2002, a second increase occurred in Division 0A whereby the Canadian quota went to 4,000 metric tons.

The Chairman: Virtually everything has gone to Nunavut.

Mr. Bevan: That is right. If there is any change to that, I will get back to the committee. That is the information I have before me right now.

The Chairman: What you are saying is extremely significant, that all increases in turbot quotas since 1994 have gone to Nunavut. That is crucial to what we are looking at, because obviously, that would beg the question of why the Nunavut government would be unhappy, and be taking some rather drastic actions on the quota allocations last year that they thought went to other interests, when in fact all that quota increase went to Nunavut.

Mr. Bevan: Essentially, we are saying there was an attempt in 1996 to move the quota in 0B to 6,600 metric tons, but Nunavut interests challenged that, and the quota was returned to 5,500 metric tons. Therefore, there has been no increase in quota in 0B and all of 0A has gone to Nunavut.

The Chairman: We will certainly be digesting this. It is very significant for us; I will put it that way.

Mr. Bevan: I do not know how confident my colleague is in his memory, but if there is any difference, we will get back to you.

The Chairman: What you are saying will certainly cause us to readjust a lot of our thinking about what has been happening. At least in my case, it changes a lot of the context in which I have been looking at this issue.

Given that individuals, fleets or boats hold a large portion of the quotas, 4,000 metric tons, there is a possibility for these quotas to be purchased or bought out. Should Nunavut have access to some kind of sudden windfall, they could buy some of these stocks from these southern interests.

Mr. Bevan: They are essentially in control of that entire stock in 0A.

The Chairman: Correct. We are talking about 0B.

Mr. Bevan: If they had earned enough money from other fisheries, then they would be able to seek to obtain further quota in 0B through purchase, and that has been part of our response to their requests in the past.

That is sometimes easier said than done, in that the purchase price can be quite high. It is not based on landed value for any given year. It could be significantly greater than that.

The Chairman: If you have a quota in your back pocket and are sitting at home watching Bell ExpressVu, it is kind of fun not to have to go out into cold, dark waters in wintertime, so who would want to sell anyway.

Mr. Bevan: Sometimes they do not sell, they lease.

The Chairman: Exactly, they are sitting at home in a warm house and letting others do the fishing for them because they have the quota in their back pocket. I am being a little facetious there, but there is not much of an incentive to sell.

Mr. Bevan: People sell, but the net present value of the amount you are offering to buy the quota has to exceed the amount they will get on an annual basis.

The Chairman: Exactly. Maybe we should have looked some years ago at the future of stocks, at people living near those communities who were seeing the southern interests and absentee owners reaping the benefits of the adjacent stocks.

Mr. Bevan: I think these issues are always at the forefront of discussions regarding policy; should there be owner/ operators, should there be those kinds of requirements.

The Chairman: What is annoying to me is that all these decisions were made without consulting the communities themselves at the time. I am not holding you personally responsible.

These decisions were made without proper consultations with local communities, and now these communities are asking for access to resources closer to their shores. We are saying no, they belong to the southern interests, people hundreds of thousands of miles away who are not even doing the fishing themselves. They do have the right to ask tough questions about what happened. I suppose you are not the one to answer the questions, but I like to raise the issue once in a while.

Mr. Bevan: That is a question that is often raised, not only in this context but also in many other situations

The Chairman: I think it should be raised more often.

Senator Cochrane: I am just wondering, Mr. Bevan, are their regulations in place to determine the types of equipment used in catching these fish? On the Greenland side, of course, we do not have any control over what Denmark does, but are they following the same guidelines on the types of equipment they use to catch their fish?

Mr. Bevan: We do have regulations, and I confess that I do not know what happens in Greenland. We have regulations laying out mesh size, configuration of gear, who can use what where, et cetera. I am not directly involved in the Greenland negotiations that take place annually, so I cannot respond to the second part of your question.

Other fisheries definitely have a lot of controls. We work with them through discussions on how they control shrimp fisheries, et cetera, in their waters, but I cannot speak to this one. I would have to get back to you with an answer on what happens in their waters, if we know. If we do not know, we will let you know that as well

Senator Cochrane: Do we have someone looking out for the fish?

Mr. Bevan: Well, we all hope to do that by following scientific advice, trying to ensure the fisheries are managed in a reasonable way and working with the management boards to put sustainable practices into place.

I understand that question to be in the context of the sharing of the stock with Greenland. As noted earlier, it always creates a more risky situation when you have two groups, in this case, Canada and Greenland, sharing a resource that straddles the border, but not having an understanding on how to share it, let alone how to set up one management regime to fish it.

We are being more cautious in how we approach the fishery, the TAC. We said that we do not want to be constrained by the 50 per cent of the TAC, but we also do not want to go out and fish hard to make the point that we should have 75 per cent by fishing 6,000 metric tons instead of 4,000, and then have the TAC overrun by several thousand tons. We are trying to provide the maximum opportunity to Nunavut fishers and make the point that we do not agree with the 50 per cent as a final sharing arrangement, but also make sure we do not go over the total allowable catch set by science.

Clearly, it is a riskier situation than if we had an understanding on how to share and manage it jointly.

Senator Cochrane: My worry is the smaller fish and fish being taken in the spawning areas. Do we have people on the waters, making sure that this is not done?

Mr. Bevan: We do not have patrol vessels in that area dedicated to that fishery. We have to rely on observers and other means. We do not have a police presence, so to speak. We do not have fishery officers in there. We do not have our patrol vessels up there. There are four vessels prosecuting the 0A fishery on our side, if I recall correctly. That is not a large number. We hope we should be able to have some confidence in what is being reported. Given the isolation and the expense of getting the platforms, et cetera, it does mean that we have to rely on working with fishing interests to monitor it.

Senator Watt: Getting back to the point that I was raising on behalf of Leezee Papatsie, I know you have been busy answering the questions, and I am not sure you have had a chance to read the letter that we received and that Minister Reid also received.

The Chairman: I am going to intervene. Generally, we do not put officials on the spot like this for a specific, individual request. I do not want to interfere in Senator Watt's question, but I can understand you might feel uncomfortable talking about one specific individual. I know we are off a little off the beaten track on this one.

Senator Watt: I think you have already indicated that it is already taken, that NAFO has already made the allotment for Canada and therefore there is nothing that DFO can do. I think that is what you said in your response. My question is do you see any alternative? The only one, I assume, is to buy out an existing fleet, or pursue a joint- venture concept.

Mr. Bevan: Generally, joint ventures require access and allocation on one side and a vessel on the other. That decides what part individuals will play; obviously, if there is no vessel, they need to have access and allocation.

They have the 45 days, as I understand from the summary, from the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board and are seeking to expand their opportunities outside the 200-mile limit, and if that is correct, I do not see a lot of opportunity to do that.

They would have to fish way too far south, in one sense, and also there would be a problem with access to areas that are already fully subscribed. As I mentioned earlier, I do not see a possibility to augment the fishing days allocation they have from the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board with something else.

Therefore, that leaves either getting a more positive response from the board or finding some other means of purchasing the allocation, but the people who hold the allocation and have a vessel will not be highly motivated to sell.

Senator Watt: They would not be motivated to enter into joint ventures. If they can have it all to themselves, why share it with somebody else.

Mr. Bevan: That is right, there has to be something in it for them. In this case, there would not be. The key would be to get a greater share from the board, but the board has already indicated they are in the same situation we are, in that they want to create stability, et cetera. It is difficult to respond to these kinds of requests in a stable situation where you do not have a lot of increase in TAC, and all of the TAC is allocated to other groups.

Senator Watt: I suppose the only leverage she has is to keep pressuring the DFO, and hopefully the DFO will acknowledge that and go to NAFO to try to get an additional quota allotment.

Mr. Bevan: Turbot is in a multi-year recovery plan. I do not foresee any possibility there. In flounder, I do not know what species it was or where it would be located. The area identified as the little triangle there, outside of the 200 nautical miles, I do not know that that is on the continental shelf and can provide an opportunity.

On skate, we will be working very hard to try to move ahead with conservation measures in NAFO, which would again restrict the opportunity. That leaves crab. Crab is not available except in waters off of Newfoundland, and they are already fully allocated. I do not see any real opportunity there.

In some other fisheries that are available out there, such as oceanic redfish, it is a very expensive, risky business proposition, and Canadian companies have access to it, but have yet to find a way to prosecute it. I do not think that kind of allocation is attractive enough to attract partnerships, et cetera. It is very tough outside of turbot and shrimp, which are handled by the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, and I do not think there is an opportunity for me to find a way to help with this particular request.

Senator Watt: Therefore, you are saying that what she is asking for clearly involves giving some leeway to a new company, and there is no possibility of doing that at this time?

Mr. Bevan: That is what I am saying, unless there is some exploratory fishery that can be developed in local waters in which they can play a part. That is how a lot of companies have got involved in fisheries in the past.

Senator Watt: Mr. Chairman, she is also asking for a letter of support from the committee. I suppose we will have to come to grips with that, how to deal with that and transmit the information to her.

The Chairman: We will deal with whether we get involved in helping individuals to get quota allocations. It would be kind of a departure for us to do that. We will obviously consider it. I do not think we have ever had the request before.

We also have to consider how the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board would like our intervention in what is obviously their Nunavut land claims mandate, if I understand correctly. It is under their mandate that allocations to individuals are made. I am not sure. It is something that we obviously have to consider.

Senator Adams: I just want to get back to 0A and 1A. I think the total allowable catch of around 8,000 metric tons has been allocated in 2003. I think you said the total there was 100 per cent to Nunavut, 8,000 metric tons.

Mr. Bevan: Well, not quite. The 8,000 metric tons in 0A and 1A is the total for Canada and Greenland. The initial allocation to Nunavut was 50 per cent of it, or 4,000 metric tons, with an understanding that should the Nunavut interests catch that quota or be on track to catch it, they could request additional quota that we would consider providing after having ascertained what the total catch was in Greenland and whether or not there was a risk of going over the total allowable catch. All the Canadian fishing in 0A is done by Nunavut interests.

Senator Adams: In the meantime, Nunavut is a part of NAFO?

Mr. Bevan: They are at the NAFO consultations, et cetera; they are represented in the Canadian delegation to NAFO.

Senator Adams: They have voting rights?

Mr. Bevan: Not quite, no. We get a quota from NAFO. This is on advice from the NAFO Scientific Council. There is no NAFO deliberation on how to share the quota between Canada and Greenland, so NAFO does not regulate that particular element of the fishing for turbot. They look farther south, at 2J, 3K, L, M, N, O areas and allocate that, but not this particular area.

The NAFO Scientific Council evaluates the information, the data, and provides a recommended TAC. We meet bilaterally with Greenland. We do not agree on the sharing arrangement. That is the history to date.

We then allocate half of the TAC to Nunavut, so that is a Canadian government decision. There is no property right or anything of that nature involved, but we try to provide a great deal of stability in those things. We will not take it from Nunavut and give it to someone else. It is a Nunavut quota, and they manage the allocation and the means by which that will be fished.

Senator Adams: Maybe you are familiar with the BFC, the Baffin Fisheries Coalition, and right now, 100 per cent of the quotas are not controlled from Nunavut. We are talking about foreigners.

What is happening now, the 4,000 metric tons is allocated to Nunavut. BFC is not optimizing the quotas of Nunavut, and they have 27 per cent royalties in 0A.

Mr. Bevan: Those are business arrangements that we do not control. The board gets the quotas, and then what they do with them is their business. We do not intervene in the business arrangements that are undertaken to fish the quota, et cetera.

Senator Adams: The DFO does not have to give any licence to go up there to fish those quotas, the 4,000 metric tons?

Mr. Bevan: We give the quota, and if a vessel is to be used, it either has to have a licence to fish, or, if it is a foreign vessel, we have to give permission. The foreign vessels will be used on a temporary basis only, and we are looking at moving away from that and into using Canadian vessels.

Most of the decisions on how this is to be done are taken by the board. They ask us if they can do this, that and the other thing, if they can have this vessel licensed or use this foreign vessel. They have to ask us and we have to provide permission. We do so on condition that this will be a temporary arrangement and they will be moving from foreign vessels to Canadian vessels over time.

Senator Adams: The only thing that I can figure out is that other companies that have quotas pay royalties to some of the communities. That quota is 4,000 metric tons. It belonged in the beginning to Nunavut, and now is at DFO. We do not administer any of the royalties.

Mr. Bevan: Again, we dealt with it through the board. We provide the quota to the board and they have autonomy to decide how to proceed from there, providing they meet the rules governing the use of the vessels, licensing, et cetera. They make a lot of the decisions regarding this fishery.

The Chairman: Next Tuesday, November 4, at 7:00 p.m. we will have witnesses from the Baffin Fisheries Coalition in this room, so you will have a chance to ask some of those questions there.

The committee adjourned.