A seiner with herring in its net. Photo by Ian McAllister

Federal minister dismisses call to close Georgia Strait herring roe fishery

‘We make our decisions based on science’: Wilkinson

While calls for the closure of a herring roe fishery operation in the Strait of Georgia are increasing in volume, the federal government has stood firm in support of the fishery and their scientific research methods.

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns spoke at the House of Commons on Thursday, expressing concern about the fishery, and imploring Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to impose a moratorium. He spoke about the important role the herring have at the bottom of the food chain for sustaining endangered Chinook salmon and southern resident killer whale populations.

“If a moratorium is not enforced to protect this critical food source and allow the stocks to rebuild, we’re endangering these interdependent species,” said Johns in his speech.

Throughout January, Conservancy Hornby Island has been heavily campaigning for the closure of the fishery, and as of Sunday afternoon, their Change.org petition had 40,100 signatures with the number rising rapidly.

READ MORE: Conservancy Hornby Island calls for government to shut down herring roe fishery

Wilkinson replied to Johns’ request saying all decisions regarding fisheries are backed by science and evidence.

“There are five different herring fisheries areas off of the B.C. coast, three of them are presently closed, one is open for a commercial fishery based on the abundance of the stock that exists there,” he said. “And as I say, we make our decisions based on science.”

Later in a Facebook post, Johns stated that allowing this fishery to operate is reckless.

“The Minister knows very well that the model DFO uses to estimate the size of the Pacific herring stock in the Salish Sea has failed six times in the last 13 years,” he said. “[The Strait of Georgia fishery] is the only herring run of five that hasn’t been closed because of over-fishing.”

According to Conservancy Hornby Island, the Strait of Georgia is the last remaining major Pacific herring spawning area from Washington State to Alaska.

The approval for the herring roe fishery would allow for the catch of 20 per cent of herring in this area, equalling approximately 28,000 tons of spawning herring or approximately 200 million fish.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 12

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo Art Gallery summer campers explore private, public spaces in new show

Dazzle Camouflage participants to unveil painting and video projects online next week

‘Unstoppable’ Nanaimo nurse recognized for work caring for survivors of assault

Island Health’s Aimee Falkenberg receives Canadian Forensic Nurses Association’s Visionary Award

Regional District of Nanaimo urges residents to sign up for new emergency alert system

RDN aligns its alert technology with Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach

‘Food 4 Summer’ campaign in Nanaimo receives $10,000 from Island Savings

Loaves and Fishes trying to build new donor relationships during pandemic

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read