A seiner with herring in its net. Photo by Ian McAllister

‘We make our decisions based on science’: Minister brushes off call to close herring roe fishery

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns speaks out against the fishery in the Strait of Georgia

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

Comox Valley Airport launches Island Good brand

YQQ focuses on providing local products to airport travellers

Royston scratchboard artist wins international award

Sharon Lennox honoured at International Society of Scratchboard Artists’ Eighth Annual Exhibition

Record article sparks return of stolen tonals

Letter writer expressed remorse after reading article describing personal connection to items

Courtenay council denies cannabis retailer application

Adjacent businesses strongly opposed storefront proposal

North Island College holding information session on new culinary diploma

Get a sneak peek at the new culinary kitchen at the Campbell River campus

Trudeau touts economic record at Liberal fundraiser in Vancouver

The Prime Minister was in B.C. for much of this week

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Cystic Fibrosis Walk Sunday in Campbell River

Help make CF history, for Maysa’s sake

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

Improve your life and theirs, adopt a cat from the BC SPCA

The BC SPCA holds an adult cat adoption promotion

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Most Read