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Still Fishin'

The BC Fishing Industry Revisited

by Alan Haig-Brown

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essays, 21st century
list price: $26.95
category: Nature
published: 2010
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Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

Still Fishin’: The BC Fishing Industry Revisited

Still Fishin’ describes BC’s coastal commercial fishing industry through its tumultuous times in the 20th century and opportunities into the 21st. The personal journeys and stories of individuals and families over many decades are narrated. It documents the role of seiners, trollers, gillnetters and packers. Government policies related to the industry, issues related to fish farms — environ mental and economic — and licensing and fleet reductions are all critiqued. Hereditary fishing rights of First Nations are defended. Comparisons and contrasts with the industry in both Alaska and Scandinavia are made. Positive assessments of the quota system fishery are presented as well as the need for owner-operator provisions. The possibilities of returning BC’s fishers to an active role in BC’s fishery is assessed and advocated.

The terms “fisherman” and “fishermen” are used throughout.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2010-2011.

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It is generally known that the West Coast's once-great commercial fishing industry has fallen on hard times, but as Alan Haig-Brown demonstrates in this new book, reports of its demise are exaggerated. A veteran of the industry himself, Haig-Brown here offers a "state of the industry" report, discovering pockets of surprising activity among the vistas of closed processing plants, downsized fleets and corporate concentration. The Ray Phillips family of Pender Harbour continue to support a second generation
by fishing halibut and black cod. Albert Radil and his two brothers have found success trawling hake in Queen Charlotte Sound. Seiner John Lenic is taking advantage of the miraculous reappearance in BC waters of the pilchard, once thought extinct. Former Vietnamese "boat person" Lon Truong hopes to finance a triumphant return to the Mekong Delta by trawling BC shrimp. The Assu brothers of Campbell River still seine chum salmon in the same Johnstone Strait tide rip their father used to fish, as did many generations of Assu ancestors before them, but they have to work fast to get their work done in the near-impossible 12-hour time limit set by the DFO. In Haig-Brown's story of the west coast fishery, boats get equal time with people and fish. He laments the destruction of some historic old seiners, just as he relishes the preservation of an old
Finn Slough gillnetter named the Eva and approves the activities of fishboat superfan Randy Reifel, who uses his considerable wealth to buy up endangered boats and keep them in working order.

Is the whole fishing industry now on life support? It seems to be headed that way, but this book offers many practical and persuasive reasons why it doesn't have to be.

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About the Author

Alan Haig-Brown

Alan Haig-Brown learned to swim in the 1950s, among the humpback salmon in the Campbell River. He seined salmon and herring until 1973, and served for eleven years as coordinator of Indian education in the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Haig-Brown became editor of the West Coast Fisherman in 1986 and later founded The West Coast Mariner and The West Coast Logger. His award-winning books for Harbour Publishing include Fishing for a Living and The Fraser River.
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