Shut the herring fishery

Too much damage has already been done by this destructive practice

I read through the Pacific Region Integrated Fisheries Management Plan for Pacific Herring November 7, 2012 to November 6, 2013. The allowable catch this season was set at 13,066 tons for the seine and gillnet fishery.

That equates to about $4 million at $300/ ton. Under historical DFO management plans, the quota rose to 200,000 tons in the early 1960s. At that level the fishery totally collapsed in 1967 and was closed until the early 1970s due to poor recruitment. Forty years later we are at a quota of 13,000 tons and this is taken in only one area, the eastern shore of Vancouver Island from Comox south. It has to be noted that this is the last open commercial fishery mandated by DFO on the west coast of Canada.

I and many others fished along the coast in the 1970s and found openings from Ganges to Prince Rupert. The bait seine fishery decimated the local populations in the Strait of Georgia and now the remaining few are calculated into the biomass that comes to spawn from the West Coast. Those managing this fishery admittedly do not know what percentage are local fish, or even where they might be from.

Migratory birds have used this flyway for millennia and arrive when the herring are spawning to gather strength through nourishment to continue their journey to the Arctic to breed and nest.

There is nothing that can be redeemed from this fishery other than the measly bucks gathered by license holders. Licenses are still leased out and deducted from the crew share.

This fishery is insanely narrow focused and must be terminated before next year to ensure the health of the fauna in the Strait of Georgia.

Bob Tritschler





Parksville Qualicum Beach News