Joined: 12 Dec 2006
|Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:56 pm Post subject: SEPTEMBER 2009 NEWSLETTER
|NEW PROVINCIAL FISHERIES STRATEGY
Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment has recently released a new management plan that will help guide their efforts “to manage the resource in a way that maintains the traditional and cultural activities we enjoy while ensuring sustainable economic benefits for everyone in the province.”
This plan has been over two years in the making and included input from most stakeholder groups.
Craig Blackmur and his fisheries committee has gone over the new plan in order to provide for a requested response to the Ministry.
Anyone wishing to view this response should go to the SOA web site and you will find it in the “member’s only” section in the fisheries forum.
For those who have not yet viewed the report you go to www.environment.gov.sk.ca and at the bottom of the middle column of “What’s New” click on “July 21, 2009 Draft Provincial Fisheries Management Plan Available”.
The fisheries committee has been successful in advancing the industry position in a number of areas.
Anyone wishing to make additional comments should contact Craig at 306-668-1061.
PROVINCIAL LAND STRADEGY
In addition to a new fisheries strategy the Ministry of the environment has also developed a new Lands Management Plan that will have some effect on outfitters.
As opposed to the fisheries strategy, this plan did not consult with the outfitting industry, (or any other as far as we are aware).
It was the hope of the industry that the opportunity to purchase leased land would again become available. This did occur but only to a small extent. There are regional and other concerns that certainly restrict the sale of crown land.
The sale of land is under the Northern Crown Land Disposition Regulations. These regulations were formerly under the Northern Administration Act however they continue to be enforced under the Northern Municipalities Act.
Anyone with any question or land sales should contact their local Sask Environment office or Linda Leveque at the Ministries office in Prince Albert (306) 953-2686.
Saskatchewan Outfitters Association Licencing Initiative
As of Sept 1st the consulting firm of Meyers, Norris & Penny has completed the consultation process on an industry led licencing initiative that would reflect industry standards. The model prepared was similar to the Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission or quite similar to what Alberta has done with the formation of the Alberta Professional Outfitters Society.
The consulting firm was satisfied that the survey results were large and broad enough to provide a statistically representative sample of the industry.
Meyers, Norris & Penny will be making a number of recommendations to the Minister, the foremost of which is to proceed with a new licencing initiative.
This is something the SOA has been advocating for, for more than a decade. The need for the enforcement of industry standards is reflected in the number of dissatisfied customers that we turn away from Saskatchewan each year.
Dissatisfied customers have a very negative effect on the number of new customers we attract to the province. This has been particularly true in the fishing sector in the last number of years. Lack of any consumer
protection has led to hundreds of customers holding the bag on deposits made with no services being provided. We estimate that over the past number of years over 2000 clients have made full or partial payments for trips they have never received.
The end result can be summarized by looking at the number of fishing licences sold to non-residents since the early 80’s. These have dropped from about 20,000 in 1980 to 13,000 in 2008. While not all of the decrease can be blamed on unhappy clients, a good portion can. Saskatchewan still has a very strong fishing resource base. Our numbers should be rising and not dropping.
The new licencing agency, through the implementation of various programs will attempt to turn this around.
SOA FUND RAISER
The SOA has initiated a program called the Non-Resident Assurance Fund to raise funds for the Association and raise awareness of our non-resident clients on the various things that outfitters do to insure their clients have a positive hunting or fishing experience in Saskatchewan.
The programs consist of the sale of wildlife prints to guests while at outfitting camps. In addition clients will be eligible for a trip to be taken at the host outfitters, the cost not to exceed $5000.
The program has been up and running since the beginning of spring bear season.
Any outfitters who require more ticket books should contact the SOA office. Please return completed books as soon as possible.
The program will conclude at the Fall Forum in December.
Transport Canada Regulations on Commercial Operators
There seems to be some confusion on what is required to operate a boat beginning in 2010. I will attempt to clarify some misconceptions. There are two categories of licences required:
A. Boat Operators Certificate: This is similar to a car driver’s licence. It is a one-time licence that is obtained after the successful completion of an exam. This licence must be acquired by anyone who operates a motorized water craft.
B. Small Vessel Operator Proficiency: This is a licence that someone will need if they operate a water craft that is used for commercial purposes and is carrying passengers. This licence would apply to most guides that outfitters hire. Challenging an exam is not an option for an S.V.O.P. licence. The candidate must take a 5-7 day course.
This second licence (SVOP) is one that the Canadian Federation of Outfitter Associations has taken a stand against. We have continuously advocated on the redundancy of this licence. To date we have received little sympathy to our stand.
A new director of Transport Canada has recently been named for the Western Region. The CFOA will be taking on opportunity to meet with him in September to present our case.
Simply put, conforming to these regulations, if not impossible, would certainly put the industry under great stress at a time when it is very vulnerable due to economic conditions. The implications of training 1,000 guides in terms of costs, lack of qualified instructors, cross cultural issues, the redundancy of subject matter, make this undertaking almost impossible.
Transport Canada, by forcing compliance to these regulations will either force outfitters to break the law or put them out of business.
We will report back to the industry after our meeting in September.
WILDLIFE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
The Minister’s Wildlife Advisory group has met on two occasions this year in March and September. Don Anderson is the SOA rep on this committee.
Some items of particular interest to outfitters include:
• Fish & Wildlife Branch will make amendments to “The Open Season Game Regulations” to include a later closing date for white tail deer in the forest fringe zones (to Dec 7th)
• Fish & Wildlife Branch will prepare a draft policy on issuing of Canadian resident white tail deer licences; process will include a limited number of licences to be issued on a zone basis, either by draw or sale over the internet.
• .A proposal for all day goose hunting will be tabled until there is substantial reason or stakeholder support to amend regulations.
• Sunday hunting for all game seasons in all
areas of the province.
•The province will be implementing an automated licence
sales system that is intended to be running by 2010
• Until an agreement can be reached by all stakeholders the allocation
policy as priority will remain as;
2.Aboriginal hunting & fishing rights