The Province has established a wildlife harvest allocation policy that creates greater consistency and transparency for B.C.'s guide outfitters and resident hunters, announced Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson.
Harvest allocations are the number of animals of a species that are allowed to be harvested by resident hunters and guided hunters in a given area each year. The policy has been developed in consultation with stakeholders and will be fully applied to the 2012-16 harvest allocation period.
Earlier this year, the ministry contracted an independent review of the harvest allocation policy with the objective of ensuring that, once fully implemented, B.C.'s guide-outfitting industry remains viable while maintaining resident hunters' priority access to wildlife. The report, Harvest Allocation Policy Review, made 11 recommendations. The ministry's responses will be incorporated into the new policy.
Some of the highlights of the policy are:
* A 10 per cent cap on changes to allocation shares between allocation periods, offering higher certainty for guides while booking hunts with clients.
* A suite of new tools, such as a flexible quota system that assists guides in fully using their allocated shares.
* Maintaining a five-year allocation period in order for the policy to be responsive to guides and resident hunter harvest trends.
* A consistent approach to allocating harvest numbers across all regions, while also allowing the ministry's regional fish and wildlife managers to have a degree of discretion to respond to unique circumstances.
In addition, this regional discretion includes a new quota variance principle that clarifies how guides may vary from their quota to meet exceptional conditions, such as guiding in remote or inaccessible areas.
The ministry will review the policy again in 2014 to make sure it is working as intended.
To read the harvest allocation policy review report and the ministry's responses in full, or to learn more about harvest allocations, visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/harvest_alloc/