Report: Nunavut fishery needs more transparency

Consultants say fish quota recipients should file business plans, governance plans and financial statements



The Government of Nunavut should require all organizations receiving fish quotas to make a wide variety of financial disclosures to the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, says a consultant’s report on the offshore fishing industry.

Prepared by Tavel Ltd. of Halifax in association with Brubacher Development Strategies Ltd., the report identifies the lack of transparency among quota recipients as a major issue and makes several recommendations aimed at increasing disclosure and accountability.

As part of a quota allocation agreement, the report says, “the receiving group should be required to submit a detailed business plan for review and approval” to the wildlife management board.

What’s more, the report urges, recipients should be required to submit a governance plan indicating how they propose to manage their business; how and when they will report back to their shareholders or membership; and an agreement on annual disclosure and reporting to the wildlife management board.

Quota recipients have come under increasing criticism for lack of financial disclosure.

Inuit Child First, Indigenous Services Canada

For instance, the Baffin Fisheries Coalition, the largest quota recipient by far, does not issue an annual report or make any regular financial disclosure, and does not have a website.

The consultants urge that disclosure requirements “should extend to all the companies that have use of the money and-or the fish attached to quota, so that for-profit companies layered below the quota receivers would be required to report as well.”

Reports should include “ownership disclosure, key contracts and financial statements.”

Because the wildlife management board does not have any business review capacity, this should be done through Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., an affiliate, or some other designated entity, the report says.

The report also urges that disclosure requirements extend to communities that request quota allocations. These communities should be required to provide details of how Nunavut would benefit from their allocation. And a minimum level of Nunavut benefits should be set by the wildlife management board or NTI.

To put teeth into these reporting requirements, the consultants recommend that organizations or communities that fail to comply be penalized by having their allocations reduced. “If this does not force compliance, removal of the entire quota would ultimately occur.”

Invitation to submit an expression of interest as to the availability of space for lease in Iqaluit, Nunavut

Since fish are a public resource, like diamonds, gold, or at some point in Nunavut’s future, oil and gas, the consultants see quotas playing a role in community development.

Specifically, they say, preference in fishing opportunities should be given to those hamlets that have less development opportunities than other hamlets.

As well, the report recommends that quota now available to private companies be made available for allocation directly to communities. And communities should be given more decision making responsibilities concerning the fishery.

“The GN fisheries strategy states that royalty and profits are to be applied to the further development of fisheries,” the report observes.

“This may not be the best decision for the hamlets, or for Nunavut. The policy that would best apply would be to have the decision rest at the community level. They can best determine if the funds should be spent on fisheries development, or fishery investments, or on other uses.”

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