NANAIMO — Repeated calls to shut down the final commercial herring fishery on the west coast were rejected by the federal government.
Courtenay-Alberni New Democrat MP Gord Johns challenged minister Jonathan Wilkinson in the House of Commons Thursday on the need to close the fishery in the Strait of Georgia due to a lack of supply.
Johns said herring are a critical part of the area's ecosystem, providing a food source for local salmon, which in turn feed endangered southern resident killer whales.
“If a moratorium is not enforced to protect this critical food source and to allow the stocks to rebuild, we're endangering this interdependent species,” Johns said during Question Period.
Johns said 32,000 British Columbians signed a petition to shut down the Salish Sea's commercial herring fishery.
Minister Wilkinson responded by stating the Strait of Georgia herring stocks are abundant and the fishery will go ahead, adding regulatory decisions are based on science.
The DFO has closed the other four west coast zones where the fishery existed in past years.
Brenda Spence, the DFO's regional pelagics coordinator, told NanaimoNewsNOW about 28,000 tons of herring will be allocated for this year's commercial herring fishery in the Strait of Georgia. She said a maximum of 20 per cent of the herring can be caught, noting the quota is rarely met.
Spence said around 200 boats involved in the annual fishery hit the waters between Comox and Nanaimo in late February or early March for the catch lasting upwards of two weeks.
The Association of Denman Island Marine Stewards claimed the overwhelming amount of herring caught in the annual fishery is used as food at salmon farms and for pets.
On Twitter: @reporterholmes
Green's Paul Manly wins Nanaimo-Ladysmith federal byelection
NANAIMO — In an historic win, the Green Party of Canada has its second seat in the House of Commons...
READ MORE +
Green party win shows Canadians 'preoccupied' by climate change: Trudeau
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a B.C. byelection win for the Green party shows...
READ MORE +
'They've had tremendous success:' Nanaimo RCMP snag speeders
NANAIMO — RCMP members on the streets are following through on a promise from Nanaimo's top cop to...
READ MORE +