November 17-30, 2011
The unusually large quota set for the ‘food and bait’ herring fishery in the Strait of Georgia this winter is garnering considerable public opposition, although the decision was never announced publicly. The fishery opened November 7 with a target quota of 6,000 tonnes, a massive increase over last year’s catch of 283 tonnes.
Conservationists are asking Minister Ashfield to not only stand down the herring fleet, but also impose a moratorium on the herring fishery until stocks recover in the Salish Sea, especially in light of the newly-declared boundary of the proposed National Marine Conservation Area reserve.
In early November, the Raincoast Conservation Foundation (RCF) wrote to Minister of Fisheries Keith Ashfield, expressing doubt that the resident herring populations were taken into account in the quota decision.
‘A fishery at this time and in this region could have catastrophic consequences for resident herring, as well as for other marine species,’ the letter states. A group of professors from UBC, UVic and SFU also wrote to the minister in support of RCF’s comments. The Cherry Point herring population that was nearly extirpated from overfishing is now protected federally.
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