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Herring Fishery Debacle.

Western Red

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Interesting I hadn't heard this before thanks for the links too bad this thread got derailed

The government isn't going to care about the fish until it can't lose votes and/or tax revenues from doing something.

Can you imagine stopping the Atlantic cod fishery in the '70/80s?

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I'm not a herring fisherman so I cannot comment on the stock numbers, but I can offer some insight into what a highly regulated fishery can offer. I know many BC Spot Prawn fisherman/boats, and have worked several seasons myself aboard such vessels. Landings since guidelines were implemented have on average gone up yearly, with some slight wavering here and there, after all, it's fishing and there will always be an ebb and flow to seasonal numbers outside of human interference (ie: water temp, food sources etc...)

It may be unfair to attempt to correlate a prawn fishery to a fish fishery, so lets try halibut. Regulations for halibut were introduced because while numbers of fish caught were typically the same year after year the average size of halibut was rapidly decreasing. Since you can't just hop into the sea and count all of the available fish you must rely on a somewhat double interpolation on which to base any rules.

Herring has always been popular to fish, but as other stocks tumble perhaps herring has (years ago) fallen victim to fishing down the food chain. Anticipating a tough year for salmon? Buy a herring license to supplement some income.

There are multiple issues here that are not limited to herring numbers, namely, the rights of the Heiltsuk Nation to refuse the right for others to fish in what they say are their waters. I'm not about to delve into the social debate about whether their territorial claim is just or not, but if the DFO feels like the numbers are there (any Fisheries officers have that data to share here?) then fishing will continue.

The only thing the herring care about is that they don't go the way of Atlantic cod, which have just recently began to regain numbers, but are still nowhere near where they were prior to massive overfishing.

The long and the short of it now is that commercial fishing is all politics no matter how you look at it. Why the DFO would open fishing grounds on depleted stock while some other fisheries are in trouble, rebounding, or thriving makes no sense to me.

edit: long lined for halibut for many seasons as well, the average weight/length of halibut we landed was down significantly compared to past "glory years". Very difficult to say mild/aggressive fishing doesn't contribute to that.

My dad has had a prawn license for about twenty plus year seems to get progressively worse every year.Lucky for him he has other stuff he does on the side so he is lucky but it definitely wont be a boat I take over when he retires.

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