UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Examining distribution and concentration of access in British Columbia's salmon and herring fisheries Haas, Andrea Rae


There is a growing awareness of the need to incorporate social goals into fisheries management, alongside ecological and economic aspects. Distribution of fisheries resources is increasingly included in social objectives of equity and fairness, such as those outlined in the 2003 FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. Concentration of fisheries access is an important aspect of distribution of benefits from the resource, and in Pacific Canada, the fish processing industry was limited to 12% ownership of fishing assets in the late 1970s. With that in mind, this thesis addressed the current extent of concentration of fisheries licenses in the Pacific salmon and herring fisheries, and examines trends in concentration over the past twenty years. Previous studies have assessed ‘corporate’ concentration only through vertical integration, whereby a fish processor owns the fishing license. However, this thesis develops more comprehensive criteria for inclusion in this category that included those who hold licenses but do not operate the asset (“license investors”), in addition to assessing other group’s license ownership patterns. Fisheries license data were obtained from Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), while data on fish processing licenses were obtained from the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture. From these data sets, four different license owner types were identified: fish processors, “license investors”, Aboriginal (or First Nations) groups, and independent owner-operators. Corporate records from the Statistics Canada Inter-Corporate Ownership data and the British Columbia Corporate Registry Services were obtained to track subsidiary operations and amalgamations or dissolutions, and then cross-referenced with the DFO license lists. The license lists were then analyzed for changes in the percent holding by these groups over the twenty-year period using a relational database. The results reveal that concentration is increasing in the fisheries examined, and proportionally, fish processors have exceeded their limits on fisheries license ownership in some fisheries since the earliest years under investigation here. As well, more subtle forms of fisheries license concentration may be occurring through “license investors”. Finally, the implications of the findings are discussed in the wider context of fisheries sustainability, with some recommendations for addressing distribution of fisheries access going forward.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada