Say NO to the Pacific Herring Roe Fishery

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You have the opportunity to help bring herring to the House of Commons! MP, Gord Johns for Courtenay-Alberni has launched a new official e-petition calling for the suspension of industrial herring fishing in the Strait of Georgia. For every 25 signatures, Gord will be able to stand up and challenge Bernadette Jordan, the new Minister for Fisheries and Oceans Canada on the mismanagement of herring on this coast.

Take action today and sign the petition here. 

DFO announced in October, 2019, that the herring population has dwindled from approximately 129,500 metric tonnes in 2016, to 85,700 tonnes in 2019, and is predicted to fall to 54,242 tonnes in 2020. This is a reduction of almost 60 percent in four years

Today (December 18, 2019) DFO announced a 20% harvest quota - again - of this severely depleted stock this spring. 

Due to severe declines, four of the other commercial herring fisheries have already shut down in B.C. The Strait of Georgia is home to the last large population, but it is being pushed to the brink. We simply cannot risk the complete collapse of this foundational species. They are the framework of coastal ecosystems and play a crucial role in feeding a wide variety of species.

Please add your voice for these #BIGLittleFish and share this opportunity broadly. Together, we can help shut this fishery down. 

Pacific herring is the basis for the food web that supports the salmon, killer whales and most of the other mammals, seabirds and other creatures who, with us, call this place home. 80% of the chinook salmons' diet is herring, and over 80% of the endangered southern resident killer whales' diet is chinook.

The herring fishery is worth little money and produces few jobs. 30 years ago the fishermen got as much as $5000 a ton for the fish, now it is as low as $150 and maybe $700 in a good year. What happened? Japanese taste changed. Where herring roe was once considered a delicacy it is no longer by younger Japanese. Times change and yet DFO keeps allowing this outdated fishery to carry on.

Even worse, 90% of the herring are ground up for fish farm food and pet food. Using wild fish for non-human consumption is illegal under the federal Fisheries Act. And the herring fishery is supporting the salmon farms that are killing our wild salmon. 

DFO states that management will be guided by the principles of “Ecosystem Based Management" and "Risk Aversion" and "Precautionary Principle" yet DFO management has, in the last 20 years, resulted in the closure of 4 of the 6 major herring fisheries on the BC coast due to low herring biomass. How can we believe that DFO is managing this valuable public resource in the best interests of all of us and our marine ecosystem?

The last remaining major Pacific Herring spawn from Washington State to Alaska is in the northern Strait of Georgia from Nanaimo to Comox. Wouldn’t it make sense to leave this stock alone to hopefully rebuild all the herring schools on our coast and the marine life that need them for survival?

Please sign this petition now to send your concerns to the politicians who can stop this unsustainable fishery. We hope our new Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, MP Bernadette Jordan, will listen! Then write to the following people who can make this happen: 

The most effective communication with politicians is by personal letter or email. Please use the points above to write your letter (no postage needed for House of Commons addresses) and/or email to:

MP Bernadette Jordan, Minister, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0A6 1.888.816.4446

MP Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0A6  (613) 995-1225

MP Gord Johns, NDP Critic for Fisheries, Oceans and Coast Guard
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0A6 (250) 947-2140
Scott Fraser, MLA, Mid Island-Pacific Rim
3945 Johnston Rd, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 5N4 (250) 720 4515
Lana Popham, MLA, Minister of Agriculture
260 – 4243 Glanford Avenue, Victoria, BC   V8Z 4B9 (250) 387-1023 

To find out more facts about this issue and how you can help, please visit Conservancy Hornby Island.

Photo credit: Ian McAllister: