Corporate concentration and processor control: insights from the salmon and herring fisheries in British Columbia.

Distribution and associated concentration of access rights are critically important in assessing the functioning and benefits of a fishery, and understanding who controls access to fisheries is therefore of ever increasing importance. There is a growing dependence on market-based approaches that in turn rely on healthy, functioning markets to achieve economic outcomes. As well, social goals of equity and fairness in fisheries have re-emerged as priorities alongside the goals of ecological sustainability and economic efficiency. This study aims to address the past and present state of the concentration of fishing licenses in British Columbia’s salmon and herring fisheries. Fisheries administrative data from federal and provincial data sets were mined to develop a timeline of fisheries ownership and control over a twenty-year period. Hidden corporate ownership of licenses through subsidiaries was identified and comprehensive criteria were co-identified with industry representatives to characterize the various user groups of fisheries licenses. Our analysis suggests that from 1993 to 2012, there was a notable shift in the ownership profile of salmon and herring licenses, with a marked increase in concentration of licenses owned by fish processors.