There will be no roe herring fishery on the Charlottes this year because there’s not enough fish, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans web site.
“Forecast returns to the Queen Charlotte Islands are expected to be below cut-off therefore no roe herring fisheries planned for this area,” says the DFO’s draft herring management plan for 2003.
The roe herring fishery, which usually takes place in March, was cancelled on the Charlottes for several years in the mid-1990s and again in 2001 due to concerns over low stocks.
Last year there was a small fishery on the islands, with commercial fishermen catching an estimated 750 tons. The Council of the Haida Nation has consistently opposed any herring fishery, saying stocks are too low. A CHN protest vessel was in the Burnaby Strait area last year during the one-day fishery.
The DFO web site notes that declining stocks are also a concern in the Prince Rupert and Central Coast areas, however a small herring fishery will be going ahead in both places. Larger fisheries are planned for the Strait of Georgia and the west coast of Vancouver Island.
The DFO sets the harvest level at approximately 20% of the expected return. However, the web site admits that “at this time, there is no information available on the appropriate conservation limits for the ecosystem as it pertain to the herring stocks.”
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