Viewed from the air, the herring spawn offers an incredible teal hue. Photo by Hal Schulz

LETTER – Stop the herring fishery and turn spawn into tourist attraction

Dear editor,

It has been announced that there will be a 2020 herring fishery in the Salish Sea with a harvest rate of 20 per cent.

I am saddened that this keystone fishery will be happening once again, given the collapse of herring stocks up and down the coast. I am not alone in this regard, as at the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention last April, nearly every elected official voted to suspend this fishery in the Salish Sea for 2020. Even the Dept. of Fisheries recognizes an issue with this fishery and recommends a reduction in harvest from 20 to 10 per cent.

There is also the issue of the smaller herring size. Pacific herring live to a maximum of 15 years and grow to about 38 cm (15”). When I first started recreational fishing locally in 1970, it was common to encounter these large herring on a rising evening tide. Fishers would be in 200 feet of water teeming with fully mature herring, from top to bottom. Herring were so prevalent that in calm conditions the water surface sounded like heavy rain as the herring breached the surface. Since the early ’70s, my own observations have seen a steady decline of mature herring masses. In the past number of years there are days when I encounter zero herring and if I am lucky, sporadic balls of herring. Virtually every fisher I know is in favour of a complete moratorium on this keystone fishery.

I would gladly help compensate herring fishers for lost income.

Beside the obvious benefits of leaving the herring in the water, there is the potential tourist dollars to observe the herring spawning. Every year I go out to observe this and am amazed at the spectacle surrounding me. Thousands of sea birds and sea lions, hundreds of eagles, seals and some whales to name a few species. Just as thousands of tourists flock to Cathedral Grove to observe a token patch of old-growth or to Telegraph Cove and other locations to observe grizzlies, whales and other sea life, here in local waters we have the opportunity to attract our own tourists to observe first-hand this wondrous spectacle.

Talk about sustainability! A win- win for all.

Gord Fyfe,


Letter to the Editor

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Valley-filmed mini-series honoured with Canadian Screen Award nomination

Actor Shawn Doyle was nominated in the Best Lead Actor category for Unspeakable

Earthquake drill offers safety lesson for Comox Valley Schools

Exercise at Glacier View includes smoke and pyrotechnics to add element of realism

Updated: Sightseeing airplane crashes in Saanich farm

Two sent to hospital with minor injuries after Cessna 172 crash at 8:55 a.m.

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Public meeting in Courtenay to discuss state of residential care in B.C.

Long term residential care for seniors is an issue that is top… Continue reading

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Most Read