The purpose of the stay was to study how pacific fisheries in Canada are regulated. The information collected will be input in a comparative analysis in her PhD dissertation on Norwegian fisheries law.
Guri was based in Vancouver most of the time period. More specifically she was a visiting PhD Student at Peter A. Allard School of Law, which is the law Faculty at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
It has been six hectic and inspiring months which has resulted in a lot of input to her dissertation. SALT is very thankful that the Research Council of Norway (Norges forskingsråd) supported the work. In the following Guri wants to share some of her personal experiences from the period:
«I received a very warm welcome at the law school and by my brilliant host supervisor, Professor Douglas Harris. I got to attend legal lectures and seminars, explore a rich library and meet scholars and students from all over the world with different perspectives. As a part of my research I also interviewed several people in the fisheries administration, both regionally and federally, and representatives from the industry and private management services. They were all very friendly and open, and I was impressed by their insights on the issues. They also shared a genuine passion for the sound management of fisheries.
There is much to say about how fisheries are regulated in Canada. First and foremost, it is diverse and complex, as the nation itself. Rules can vary substantially from fishery to fishery, but there is of course a basic legal framework that applies generally. I prioritized my time looking into some specific rules and a few case studies. Another point is that there was a huge law revision up for debate when I was there, which made my stay even more interesting. All of this will be reflected in my thesis when I have spent two more years processing and analyzing the information I have collected.
What can be said at this point is that I am starting to see interesting similarities in how we do things that are organized in different legal instruments. One important characteristic in Canada is that the Fisheries Minister has “absolute discretion”, which basically gives the fisheries administration wide powers to regulate as long as the decision is reasonable and based on relevant considerations. This is also to some extent the case of the powers of the executive branch in the Norwegian government. An important difference is the use of electronic monitoring, or at sea observes, on fishing vessels in operation. I look forward to going deeper into these matters in the time to come.
As to living in Canada and Vancouver for six months, there is also a lot to say. Vancouver is an extremely multicultural million city which has become expensive to live in, and with a growing Chinese population that is very present. It feels progressive and with an environmental oriented vibe. There are for example garbage sorting in many public spaces and the city tries to facilitate a wide use of bicycles. I loved the atmosphere and the location on the coast between great mountains and crisp air. I also got to visit Ottawa, Victoria and northern BC during my stay. These were very different cities and areas, which just pinpointed the federative nature of Canada. Trying to follow national news and the trends, I could sense a divided, unsaid tension that environmental concern was a part of. The role of oil in the Canadian economy now, and in future, and reconciliation with the natives will be important topics in upcoming federal elections in October. The position of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is challenged and there are interesting times ahead of the nation.»