New fisheries minister gets into fisheries policy and cuts herring harvest in half

In her first major decision, the new Federal Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray cut the West Coast commercial herring fishery in half.

Getting into the nitty-gritty of fisheries policy on Thursday, Murray said the decision is based on a host of precautions given that herring is a staple food for endangered salmon populations, most threatened by the double hit of the fires and floods in British Columbia this year.

The only remaining commercial herring fishery in the Strait of Georgia will decline at a 10 percent catch rate, up from 20 percent last year, with a total maximum allowable catch of 7,850 tonnes.

The First Nations food, social and ceremonial fisheries for herring are not affected by the reduction.

“This is an extraordinary time, when our Pacific coast is recovering from natural disasters and the serious damage they have caused to the environment and to our iconic Pacific salmon,” Murray said in a press release. break free.

Herring, vital to the west coast ecosystem, is in a fragile state, Murray added.

“We must do what we can to protect and regenerate this important forage species.”

Many conservationists want a moratorium on herring fishing. File photo by Ian McAllister / Pacific Wild

The decision supports fishing whenever possible, but is also consistent with the goals of recovering and regenerating significant herring stocks, the ministry said.

British Columbia’s herring roe fishery, which typically occurs in the spring, has long been a focus of controversy.

The only remaining commercial herring fishery in the Strait of Georgia will decline at a 10 percent catch rate, up from 20 percent last year, with a total maximum allowable catch of 7,850 tonnes. #BC

Conservationists and many First Nations have argued that even the 20 percent catch allocation in recent years will cause the herring population to collapse with dire results for the whales, seabirds and salmon that depend on them. Many critics make annual calls for a moratorium on the fishery, at least until an accurate stock analysis can be performed.

But any reduction in catch is sure to be wildly unpopular with commercial fishers, who are under increasing pressure on all sides and are still reeling from the unprecedented permanent closure of up to 60 percent of the salmon fishery by from the ministry this summer.

Former Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan’s decision in June was an attempt to prevent the collapse of British Columbia’s key species after experiencing years of decline and to fight climate change, habitat destruction and overfishing.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada will release details of the herring fishery management plan with stock projections and management measures in the near future, the ministry said.

Check back at National Observer of Canada for more updates on this evolving story.

Rochelle Baker / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada National Observer

Reference-www.nationalobserver.com

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