DFO approves closure of 2016 herring fishery

No commercial herring fishery will operate in traditional Haida waters this year

No commercial herring fishery will operate in traditional Haida waters this year.

Following a decision by the House of Assembly and Council of the Haida Nation to keep the fishery closed in 2016 to ensure the long-term strength of the herring stocks, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans gave notice of the closure in December.

In a letter to the CHN, the federal agency said herring stocks are below the cutoffs for a commercial fishery off Haida Gwaii and the west coast of Vancouver Island this year, noting that a new management framework for the fishery is also underway.

“The Haida Nation is pleased to see that the new federal government is looking at herring stocks in a way that is closer to our understanding of how the natural world works,” said CHN President Peter Lantin in a Jan. 8 news release.

“Their new perspective is refreshing and we hope to see it applied to other fisheries and in our government-to-government negotiations.”

The closure does not affect the traditional Haida fishery for roe-on-kelp.

This will be the third consecutive year with no commercial herring fishery in traditional Haida waters. The 2014 closure was made after the CHN negotiated directly with industry, while the 2015 closure followed the CHN’s successful legal injunction against the DFO.

Ruling on the injunction last March, Justice Michael Mason said the federal government failed to meaningfully consult the Haida about the fishery, and that further management planning is needed to ensure the fishery is sustainable.