Re: “Voices grow louder for pause to herring fishery,” March 20.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has implemented a precautionary approach and sustainable harvest practices in its management of the herring fishery for many years.
The department manages all herring stocks on a conservative basis for sustainability and protection of local ecosystems and closes fisheries when stocks are at low abundances.
This year, herring fisheries have occurred in the Strait of Georgia and Prince Rupert, where stocks are more robust. In the Strait of Georgia, the forecasted mature stock biomass is 82,952 metric tonnes — well above the fishery cut-off point of 33,318 metric tonnes. In other words, if the herring biomass in a particular area is at or below 33,318 tonnes, a fishery would not occur.
When fisheries take place on stocks above the fishery cutoff point, harvest rates are no more than 20 per cent of the stock. The remaining 80 per cent of the stock is preserved for future conservation and ecosystem purposes. Forecasts for herring on the Central Coast, Haida Gwaii and the West Coast of Vancouver Island are below the fishery cutoff point, and these areas remain closed to a commercial harvest.
Herring stocks in all areas of the B.C. coast are assessed annually under the Herring Stock Assessment Program, and the department develops its fishing plans based on consultation and advice received from environmental, fishing and First Nations interests.
Regional director general
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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