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.

Just Posted

Unplowed Roads parody song destined to be a classic

Move over Weird Al, Island elementary students on the same level

Watershed concerns prompt opposition to alternate Malahat routes

Motion submitted to Regional Water Supply Commission opposing highway in watershed

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Robert Barron column: Thanks to municipal workers during snow storm

I’ve always wondered how anything gets done when mounds of snow fall from the sky.

Island fossil makes it to the top of the provincial list

Courtenay’s elasmosaur will be added to the official Provincial Symbols of British Columbia

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Tonight’s sporting event costs more than the Super Bowl, and Obama is going

Tickets are going for more than $4,000 to watch the Duke - North Carolina basketball game

CRTC: Telecom industry using unacceptable sales tactics

Regulator held inquiry on sales practices of 12 Canadian providers of wireless and internet services

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Snow not melting fast enough for some Greater Victoria residents

Resident unhappy with lack of snow removal on Mount Doug trails

‘Priceless’ hat stolen from Indigenous art store in Campbell River during break-in

Ernie Smith, co-owner of Awatin Aboriginal Art, looking for help in recovering stolen hat

Most Read