Letter: Pasco replies to ‘misleading’ article
Editor’s note: The following is a letter to the editor submitted by Pasco Seafood of Richmond, British Columbia. It’s in response to a 9 January Vancouver Sun article titled “Richmond ‘sustainable” seafood supplier netted in federal fish investigation.”
We, Pasco Seafood, wish to clarify our position regarding Larry Pynn’s article entitled “Richmond ‘Sustainable’ Seafood Supplier Netted in Federal Fish Investigation” that appeared in the Vancouver Sun Saturday, January 7th, 2012. The article was written without speaking with Pasco or viewing our extensive monitoring and tracking systems.
In all circumstances, Pasco Seafoods conducted its business wholly above board and did its due diligence to ensure that all proper documentation and permits required were in place for the purchase of this sockeye from a First Nations Economic Opportunity Fishery agreement negotiated between DFO and a First Nation Band. Pasco had no involvement in this joint agreement and was asked to purchase fish only as an independent processor.
The dispute between DFO and the First Nations arose with regard to the interpretation of their fishing agreement, specifically whether it permitted the First Nations to catch the agreed amount of sockeye in another BC First Nation’s territory, where the First Nations had made protocol arrangements to fish.
DFO has not called into question the legality of any action taken by Pasco Seafoods, which conducted its business in accordance to the law on the purchase, transportation and processing of seafood. All fish were unloaded and handled by federally inspected facilities as per Pasco’s chain of custody procedures. At that time, Fisheries Officer Trevor Tomlin notified Pasco that “you have done nothing wrong,” but that there was a question as to whether or not the First Nations band had the right to fish in the Johnston Strait area.
Pasco Seafood has fully cooperated with DFO’s investigation and discussions with DFO have indicated that all proper procedures possible were undertaken by Pasco. However, we are concerned that this article implies that Pasco is part of illegal activities, which is untrue. It is precisely Pasco’s extensive monitoring and tracking system that prevents this and provides regulatory agencies with the information they need to monitor such fisheries.
Pasco Seafood continues to work in accordance to meet or exceed the required laws and regulations as to the purchase, transport and processing of seafood. We wish to continue building on our innovative tracking and handling programs that have worked well in this instance and provide reliable, real-time data for seafood consumers and the agencies that oversee us.