CHN threatens legal action over herring fishery

  • Jan. 27, 2015 4:00 p.m.

The Council of the Haida Nation announced it will resort to legal action if the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reopens the commercial herring fishery in Haida Gwaii waters this year.”Herring stocks on Haida Gwaii have not rebuilt sufficiently to support a fishery,” said an open letter signed by CHN president Peter Lantin. “Continued closure of the commercial herring fishery on Haida Gwaii is necessary to allow stocks to rebuild and to facilitate development of a sound management approach.”This statement is in response to information the CHN received on Dec. 17, 2014, which suggests DFO is contemplating commercial spawn on kelp and roe herring fisheries in the waters surrounding the islands.DFO told the Observer, the 2014 stock assessment and management advice provided by its Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat in early September 2014 shows that herring levels are above the commercial fishery cut-off in all major stock areas on B.C.’s coast, which includes Haida Gwaii.”To provide commercial opportunities while balancing conservation objectives, openings are being considered with a maximum 20 per cent harvest rate in the Strait of Georgia and Prince Rupert district, with a more conservative 10 per cent rate of the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii, and the Central Coast areas,” DFO said.The Haida Nation disagrees with DFO’s stock assessment numbers, noting that the spawn in 2014 declined from the year previous. It also rejects the proposed 10 percent harvest rate, which would allocate 1,000 tons for the spawn on kelp fishery and 800 tons for a roe seine fishery.”Many DFO scientists and industry have both indicated a need to reevaluate current herring management models and procedures,” the CHN said. “The current management approach is flawed and based on over-optimistic models with a high level of uncertainty.”Each year, the Herring Industry Advisory Board (HIAB), DFO and the CHN conduct research in the waters surrounding Haida Gwaii, sending divers down to assess spawning in order to estimate a population.Last April, Mr. Lantin told the Observer that HIAB, DFO, and CHN were going to share information, debriefing and deliberating on their findings and data.Both the CHN and DFO have said they are open to engaging in discussion and building on stock assessment information. Hopefully, for all parties involved, this openness to dialogue prevents the complications arising from the re-opening of the commercial herring fishery last year.In Jan. 2014, DFO announced it would re-open the commercial herring roe fishery in Haida Gwaii waters after more than a decade moratorium.Shortly after the announcement, the Council of the Haida Nation stated their opposition to the commercial fishery and united with the Heiltsuk and Nuu-chah-nulth Nations, whose waters were also re-opened after years of closure. The Nuu-chah-nulth nations won a court injunction in February, preventing DFO from opening herring fisheries in their waters, after a document revealed the Fisheries Minister ignored scientific recommendations that the fishery remain closed in the three areas, including Haida Gwaii.The Haida Nation was also successful in preventing fishing in their territory last year, but did so by reaching a respectful verbal agreement with industry representatives on March 17.Just as last year, the CHN has made clear that it isn’t opposed to a commercial herring fishery in Haida Gwaii once the stocks have sufficiently rebuilt.”We do not wish to cause undue hardship and expense to commercial herring fisherman, however the well-being of the herring is in all of our interests, and in the interests of future generations of fishers,” said the CHN.

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Ferry sailing delayed after divers check Northern Adventure

Divers called in to check propeller shaft, sailing to Haida Gwaii now 140 minutes behind

Haida Gwaii fishery staff gear up for marine mammal rescues

Haida fishery guardians and DFO fishery officers better equipped to rescue marine mammals

On the Wing: Heatwaves, forests and shorebirds

By Margo Hearne The dog days of summer continue. It’s been hot… Continue reading

In Pictures: Great crowd, good vibes at 2018 Edge of the World

Haida Gwaii music fest gets a bumper turnout with summer sun and deep talent pool

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Northern B.C. residents face more evacuation orders as some smoke clears up

Regional District of BulkleyNechako issued new, expanded evacuation orders for remote areas Saturday

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

Most Read