Feds called on to enforce emergency closure of B.C.’s last herring fishery

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by macro, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. macro

    macro Active Member

  2. IronNoggin

    IronNoggin Well-Known Member

    My take?

    Pacific Wild co-founder Ian McAllister.

    'Nuff Said.
    fish4all likes this.
  3. macro

    macro Active Member

    I dont know anything about them. Can you shed some light? Cheers,
  4. searun

    searun Well-Known Member

    Good grief, more alarmist close everything down stuff. What ever happened to science-based decision making and harvesting for sustainability. I'm all for finding out what the ecosystem prey requirements are necessary for other species that depend on herring and planning to set those aside, but if there is a harvestable surplus what is wrong with that?
    ILHG, Derby and fish4all like this.
  5. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member


    Canada’s high-stakes herring fishery gamble

    Fisheries and Oceans Canada is gambling with a public resource when it comes to herring fishery management. Herring populations are so important yet so variable that managing them in a conventional way is too risky. Canada should be trying to keep as many herring in the ocean as possible, only harvesting them when nature provides a surplus. The usual practice of maximizing the catch while aiming to avoid a closure of the fishery is a bad wager.

    These little silver fish nurture many animals in coastal waters. They create a key connection in the food webs between plankton and predators such as seabirds, seals, sea lions, spiny dogfish, salmon and whales.

    This year, in response to an expected low herring return in the Strait of Georgia, Fisheries and Oceans drafted a plan to keep the harvest level at 20 per cent, the same level as when herring are abundant. Evidence over the past couple of years shows herring populations have fallen rapidly due to natural variation, which means precaution is required. The current assessment suggests there’s a one-in-four chance the stock will fall below the point when no fishing is permitted. Leading fisheries management agencies around the world have implemented rules for these types of scenarios to rein in the risk. Beginning this year, Fisheries and Oceans Canada must strive to do the same.

    The department should exercise caution by reducing the harvest rate to no more than 10 per cent, consistent with an ecosystem-based management approach. A 2019 Fisheries and Oceans analysis of the herring population on the Vancouver Island west coast found “reduction in harvest rate from 20 per cent to 10 per cent was the most effective means of mitigating stock assessment errors by reducing the absolute size of the catch.”

    Fisheries management is inherently complex. English scientist John Shepherd once said it’s like managing a forest in which the trees are invisible and keep moving around. To allow a high harvest rate on a declining herring population is a gambler’s approach, not a risk-averse strategy of responsible fisheries management. It places too much confidence in our ability to forecast based on a limited number of indicators. Fisheries science has lulled us into believing the risks are fully understood, but at best, it’s a sliver of information in a highly uncertain ecosystem. In the face of this uncertainty, managers and scientists continually struggle to figure out how to maximize the amount of fish we can take.

    It’s time for Fisheries and Oceans to start taking an ecosystem-based approach, which carries less risk and reduces the focus on maximizing harvests. This approach doesn’t mean an end to fishing. If done properly, it can provide a way to sustain the fishery, herring populations and ecosystems. New science and policy from the department and academia provide guidance on how to move in this direction. The recently revised Fisheries Act prioritizes ecosystem-based management and allows for harvest decisions based on ecosystem considerations.

    While the department’s 2020 draft herring fishery plan complies with its own internal policies, its decisions are still rooted in conventional fisheries management strategies. These strategies have the unambitious goal of avoiding a fishery closure when herring populations hit a low point. This is the wrong objective.

    It’s not acceptable to gamble using the public’s chips. The David Suzuki Foundation has supported high harvests of herring when stocks were abundant, but with the population in apparent decline, Fisheries and Oceans is taking an unnecessary risk. This year, herring are expected to have substantially declined, most likely due to high natural death rates. If the herring return at lower than forecasted levels, the fishery runs a greater risk of overharvesting, which increases the likelihood of a complete fishery closure next year.

    The public interest in herring reflects its ecological value and demands a much greater level of precaution in management. Fisheries and Oceans Canada must take this issue seriously and consider an ecosystem-based approach to the herring fishery.
    terrin and fogged in like this.
  6. fogged in

    fogged in Well-Known Member

    "science-based decision making and harvesting for sustainability."
    "sustainability" is simply not happening!!
    The Science our Herring fishery is based upon has resulted in a serious decline in the Herring biomass far beyond recent levels.
    That's not sustainability.
    The Science is flawed, just like the Science being used to support Open Atlantic Net Pen Fish Farms!
  7. fish4all

    fish4all Well-Known Member

    no sense using common sense or science when making decisions. Better to ask people that have no clue or have been misinformed by assholes like Ian McAllister. Take a look at how people’s feelings about whales curtailed the Chinook fishery. Keep supporting douche bags like this and all fisheries will be gone regardless of the science that supports them.

    Mother Nature has more influence on a herring stock than fishing ever will. As for a eco-based approach that’s a myth. We haven’t figured it out above the water let alone below it. sounds good on paper or from a politician but that’s about it.
    easydoesit, Derby and IronNoggin like this.
  8. searun

    searun Well-Known Member

    I appreciate it may appear mythical to do our best to establish a reliable system of stock assessment, but in the absence of some approach we run incredible risks for over-harvest which is in nobody's interest. We also should be taking careful stock to define what the prey requirements of species reliant on herring to be, quantify that, then add those considerations to the management model. In the end, regardless of what we do or how we establish a management strategy aimed at achieving sustainable harvest, there will always be an "art" to blending science with on the water experience. Bottom line for me personally is; 1) establish the stock status - which changes dynamically over time; 2) account for prey requirements of other species reliant upon herring; 3) deduct those prey requirements; 4) arrive at a harvestable surplus and allow fisheries based on those. Easier said than done however.
    Derby likes this.
  9. fish4all

    fish4all Well-Known Member

    I can agree with most of that except what do you do with a growing sealion population that the government is too dumb to deal with?
    Derby and IronNoggin like this.
  10. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member

    Bingo, the 20% harvest strategy was set in a day when there was almost no seals and sea lion population. Is 20% still sustainable at the sea lion and seal population now. I think that's why there is a reluctance to go to an eco based model. We may find out there is none left for harvest do to the seal and sea lion population explosion.
    IronNoggin likes this.
  11. fish4all

    fish4all Well-Known Member

    I think the reasons against going to an eco based model is that it’s not doable. How many sealions, how many seals, how many salmon. All guesses at best.
    IronNoggin likes this.
  12. macro

    macro Active Member

    From the draft management plan -
    5.2.5 Strait of Georgia
    Open for Roe (and Food and Bait, Special Use) fisheries, to a maximum of 11,960 tons, subject to consultations. All tested MPs met the conservation objectives under MSE simulations for this area. The quota level is based on application a 20% harvest rate. Spawning biomass in 2020 is forecast to be 59,792 tons (range: 29,965-121,349 tons) and below the LRP with a 28% probability in the absence of fishing

    So.. I guess my question is this.. If we manage this based on a precautionary approach.. Why not set the quota at 20% of the Lowest part of the forecast range. 20% of 29565 tons.... that way if they get it wrong.. they dont harm the fishery by overexploiting the resource.

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