NOVEMBER 15, 2004 Catch-22: Conservation, Communities and the Privatization of B.C. Fisheries is a new study that investigates the economic, social and ecological impacts of federal fisheries licensing policy, especially those promoting individual fishing quotas (IFQs). Under an IFQ system, an individual or company owns a preset portion of the total allowable catch. Quotas can be bought, sold or traded like shares on a stock exchange. IFQs are considered a form of resource privatization.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has implemented IFQs in the geoduck, halibut, sablefish, groundfish trawl and three shellfish fisheries. It is currently developing a controversial plan to implement IFQs in B.C.'s salmon fishery.

The report found that many of the major reforms of B.C. fisheries in the 1990s, including the introduction of IFQ programs and Mifflin Plan in the salmon industry, represented a catch-22 for fishing-dependent communities. DFO's solutions created as many economic, social and ecological problems as they solved.

Ecotrust Canada and Ecotrust commissioned this report to engage the public in a well-informed and balanced public policy discussion about the future of BC’s fisheries resources, and to provide independent analysis and recommendations to the the West Coast of Vancouver Island Aquatic Management Board and ‘Namgis First Nation.