Seeing Red Over British Columbia’s Herring Fishery

The Huffington Post

By Chris Genovali, Misty MacDuffee and Caroline Fox

Other than salmon, few species in British Columbia hold the ecological, cultural and economic importance of Pacific herring, Clupea pallasi. Pacific herring are a cornerstone of the marine foodweb and support a diversity of marine predators. In addition to wildlife, they have sustained coastal First Nation communities for many thousands of years and, in more recent decades, have been the focus of largest commercial fishery in BC, eclipsing all salmon species combined.

The relatively sheltered waters of the BC’s Salish Sea still supports a substantial herring fishery, whereas other parts of the coast have been closed for a number of years due low abundance.  Each spring, herring that spend their summers gaining mass off the west coast of Vancouver Island return to spawn in the Strait of Georgia; these are considered to be the migratory herring. There exist small, perhaps even remnant, population(s) of resident herring, which remain year-round in the Strait of Georgia. Some of these fish are even known to be genetically different from the migrants.

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