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Introduction The rise of the Pacific fishery in the 1870s and 80s produced huge catches resulting in the development of numerous communities employment of thousands the generation of fortunes and the ability to feed millions of people Alexander Ewen an industry pioneer packed fewer than two thousand salmon in the summer of 1871 It was a modest catch yet those 30000 pounds of salmon marked the dawn of British Columbias modern salmon industry Today the fishing industry harvests millions of fish in a matter of weeks It is valued at over 1 billion annually and provides employment to over 25000 people The industry represents BCs largest single food export and the livelihood of many small coastal communities 72 However Canadas Pacific fisheries are at a crisis point Despite having had some of the worlds most abundant fish resources capable of yielding great economic and social benefits many commercial fisherman and companies are now near bankruptcy fishermen are preoccupied with declining opportunities to fish due to attempts to conserve stock and the fisheries are a heavy burden on Canadian taxpayers because of the need for government subsidies and regulation The problems now facing the Pacific fisheries include overfishing conflict among users overexpansion of the fishing fleets and eroding marine and freshwater habitat 103 Heres the paradox the BC salmon fishery forced to reduce its fleet by the federal government to conserve a dwindling stock is idling people by the hundreds and losing millions of dollars in potential revenue But the fish farming industry which has the potential of creating jobs and millions of dollars of revenue has been prevented from expanding by a provincial moratorium that has been in place for much of this decade 16 What has become clear is that utilization of the potentially lucrative aquaculture industry is essential for the revival of the BC fishing industry Background In 1852 a native man drinking from the Thompson River noticed a glint of
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