What's The Real Skinny On The Commercial Herring Fishery?

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by Rain City, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    I've heard lots of very opposing opinions on this in the past couple days. Without being assholes to each other can anyone offer their perspective? Is it well managed? Is it detrimental? Please use facts and science, what your uncle told you doesn't count. And if you're in some way massively biased maybe stay out of it as well lol.
  2. chris73

    chris73 Well-Known Member

    I don't need my uncle to tell me that herrings used to be plentyful and everywhere. I have witnessed entire populations disappear over the last 15 years. Where did they go?
    trophywife likes this.
  3. calmsea

    calmsea Well-Known Member

    I just want to say that a fishery for a declining keystone species that barely makes any profit needs to go. What a waste of precious silver!
  4. Bamfield Fishing

    Bamfield Fishing New Member

    trophywife and Whitebuck like this.
  5. Whole in the Water

    Whole in the Water Well-Known Member

    Yup that is right because the Japanese fished out most of the herring over there years ago. Now that are paying us to do the same. Pretty damn stupid - needs to stop if we are serious about restoring and increasing wild salmon populations.
  6. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member

    For Puget sound their has been a general downwards trend

  7. Fishmyster

    Fishmyster Well-Known Member

    To my understanding DFO regulates herring with a 10-15% exploitation rate. I could be wrong but will be corrected soon if so. Personally I see this as being fairly conservative. If herring populations are depressed then it is likely some other factors causing the depression other than commercial harvesting. Many other species have peeks and valleys in abundances with no commercial harvesting like starfish, sandlance, stream invertebrates, beach crabs and many others not monitored. Why is it always considered commercial fishing is causing the demise of herring? Is it not possible that natural factors do not have more of an effect or are they exempt from unfavorable natural conditions?
  8. captmike

    captmike Active Member

    our seine fleet fished pilchards big time in the 40's so as these stocks diminished the herring flourished, since the pilchard is a more aggressive fish. Herring were overfished for oil (catch as high as 250,000 tons a year) and shut down about 1968,then opened in 1974 for the roe fishery in March and the food fishery in Dec/Jan (largely for pet food and acquarims) which happens now in the Gulf of Georgia and Prince Rupert area. When the pilchards returned a few years ago (but have since disappeared) they affected the herring stocks esp on WCVI.
    tincan likes this.
  9. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    [QUOTE="captmike, post: When the pilchards returned a few years ago (but have since disappeared) they affected the herring stocks esp on WCVI.[/QUOTE]
    And so were those areas subsequently closed to fishing them again?
  10. fish brain

    fish brain Crew Member

    To me this chart says that herring have been in decline since about 1980. I assume charts from our waters would be similar. One has to wonder why
  11. charlie415

    charlie415 Well-Known Member

  12. fish4all

    fish4all Well-Known Member

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  13. captmike

    captmike Active Member

    I don't think there has been a herring fishery GN , seine or roe on kelp on the WCVI for over 10 years
    Rain City likes this.
  14. charlie415

    charlie415 Well-Known Member

    Can you enlighten the uninformed? What part of this article is misinformation?
    Rain City and big rock like this.
  15. fish4all

    fish4all Well-Known Member

    Where would you like to start? Number one the stock has been increasing in the gulf over the last decade even with a fishery. 2) his values are way off. We were paid $2800/ton last year for herring. 3) just another group that wants to manage somebody else based on their “feelings”.
    chevyshaulass likes this.
  16. charlie415

    charlie415 Well-Known Member

    That's interesting. A quick search found me this. I have heard of this magazine. Not DFO stats but I would think they are knowledgeable?

    Was that $2800/ton for roe from herring? roe from kelp? Or herring sold to make fish food pellets (which is against the law in my opinion)?
  17. california

    california Well-Known Member

    from a story during the 2017 season in the Sun https://vancouversun.com/news/local...roe-herring-fishery-carries-risks-and-rewards

    "There have been other changes to the fishery over the years. The Japanese don’t pay what they used to for roe herring, which put an end to $1-million catches and the owners of herring licences leasing them out for $100,000 or more and just sit home and rake in the money. Nowadays, licence holders settle for a small fraction of that, typically paid as a percentage of the catch.

    Barry McMillan, president of J.S. McMillan Fisheries Ltd., recalls fishermen receiving a high of about $5,000 a tonne during the heyday of the fishery, but today must settle for closer to $150 to $600 depending on the roe. (Payments of $1,000 to $2,000 a tonne used to be more common.)

    The economy eventually slowed in Japan and roe herring changed from a high-end annual corporate gift to a product sold in supermarkets."

    So we remove 15%-20% of the biomass of a foundation species capable of converting phytoplankton to protien necessary for the entire foodchain for japanese supermarket sushi. 90%+ of the weight harvested is just reduced to meal. Herring spawn repeatedly so taking them out doesn't just reduce the mass of eggs and larvae entering the ecosystem this year, it effects future years too. The definition of a wasteful fishery. The fact it is "sustainable" does not mean it is not having environmental impacts. All it means is taking this amount means there will be enough to take more next year. It completely ignores the environmental benefits of letting the population increase to a maximum sustainable level in favour of a now marginal financial benefit to keep it at a sustainable harvestable level which is not the same ecologically. The value of Sport fishing, whale watching and ecotourism far out strips the value of this wasteful and damaging fishery.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
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  18. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member

    The SOG herring biomass is one of the last healthy herring biomass on this coast, Yes it can easy support a commercial fishery but no one trusts DFO or any manager for that matter any more when it comes to managing fish stocks.

    One thing we do know is once a herring biomass is over harvested or a disaster happens like an oil spill is that herrings stocks may not recover. That other prey fish move in and top down effects can keep them from recovering.

    This is a good piece I read about it awhile ago


    "John Trochta, one of Trevor Branch’s graduate students at the University of Washington, has analyzed more than 50 historical herring populations across the globe, most of which have collapsed at some point. He found that the majority rebounded within a decade, but there were a few exceptions where herring numbers remained low for at least twenty years after a crash. One is in Prince William Sound; another is off the coast of Japan and southeastern Russia. There, fishers once harvested nearly a million metric tons of fish per year from the legendary Hokkaido-Sakhalin stock. But by the 1930s, perhaps due to intense fishing pressure and oceanographic changes, the stock began to decline sharply, until, by 1955, there were hardly any fish left. It’s the only herring stock yet to come back after more than 60 years. No one knows whether the same fate awaits the herring in Prince William Sound."
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
  19. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member

  20. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    No, we don't need herring hatcheries, we just need to stop killing them.
    This herring roe fishery reminds me of how we are managing chum stocks ... piss poorly.

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