CHN wins injunction over herring fishery

  • Mar. 24, 2015 12:00 p.m.

By Rhonda Lee McIsaacHaida Gwaii ObserverThe Haida Nation was successful in stopping the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans from opening a herring fishery this year for Haida Gwaii. CHN received the injunction in a March 6 Federal Court ruling in Vancouver.”The court was receptive to our submissions and we were able to demonstrate a very real problem in the management of herring and the attitude of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans,” Peter Lantin, president of the CHN said. “We hope with this ruling DFO will start working with us to develop a sustainable fisheries” states Lantin in a news release on the granting of the injunction. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will not be able to open a decade-long closure of commercial spawn on kelp and herring roe fisheries in the waters surrounding Haida Gwaii. The court found the DFO’s stock assessment numbers were calculated with insufficient certainty, which the CHN proved with their own research and on-the-water knowledge. Justice Michael Mason in his ruling stated, “There is a real and serious risk of irreparable harm if the Haida Gwaii area is reopened for roe herring fishery in 2015.” Justice Mason also noted that the federal government failed to meaningfully consult and negotiate with the Haida Nation about the fishery. “There is a heightened duty for DFO and the Minister to accommodate the Haida Nation in negotiating and determining the roe herring fishery in Haida Gwaii,” he said, “given the existing Gwaii Haanas Agreement, the unique Haida Gwaii marine conservation area, the ecological concerns and the duty to foster reconciliation with and protection of the constitutional rights of the Haida Nation.”Before a commercial herring fishery can be opened, Justice Mason ruled further steps must be taken to ensure the fishery’s sustainability, including a hearing of a judicial review application, the completion of a herring management framework, and the completion of an integrated Gwaii Haanas Management plan.

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