‘How will they survive?’
It looks more like a picture postcard than a working harbor. A blue heron stands amid cattails and bulrushes. Wild blackberry brambles dot the shores. Overhead, the cries of gulls compete with the melodies of songbirds as the midday sun glistens off bobbi ng masts. There are other places to tie up in Steveston, a fishing village about 20 km south of downtown Vancouver. Its three main marinas are, after all, home to some 650 vessels, making it the largest commercial fishing harbor in British Columbia. But t he bigger slips that line the banks along the South Arm of the Fraser River are hardly as serene as the one at tiny Scotch Pond, a designated heritage fishing co-operative with three dozen members, all independent owner-operators.
Among them is Don Taylor, who, at age 70, still gillnets for salmon from his 35-foot aluminum-hulled boat, the cleverly named Taylor Maid. A gentle, soft-spoken man, Taylor has seen many ups and downs in his 48 years in the fishing business. But ask him a bout Ottawa’s latest plan to revitalize the floundering Pacific salmon fishery, and his anger threatens to shatter Scotch Pond’s striking tranquillity. “What has happened here has happened because of the federal government,” he says bitterly. “And we are the ones who are going to have to bear the brunt of all their mistakes.” [Read more…]