An article running in the Vancouver Sun, and a vitally important fishery-fish issue:
“DFO recognizes that there are ‘resident herring’ that remain in the Strait of Georgia stock assessment area throughout the year, but scientific evidence does not support the notion that these are separate stocks,” DFO scientists wrote in an email interview. “A number of tagging and genetic research studies examining herring stock structure do not provide evidence to support the existence of a local resident herring population in the Strait of Georgia.”
But not all scientists agree.
University of British Columbia fisheries scientist Tony Pitcher said that B.C.’s bays and inlets were once home to unique inshore herring stocks that returned to spawn in the same places year after year, in much the same way that salmon return to the spawning grounds on which they were born.
“Local herring stocks aren’t exactly resident, but they are quasi-resident, because they joined the big migratory stock for summer feeding but returned in the winter to their spawning areas and stay there through the winter and spring,” said Pitcher.
Where commercial fishing has damaged inshore herring stocks, recovery has been slow and in some cases the fish have never returned.
“It looks like the Skidegate stock has never come back, despite efforts to try to protect it,” Pitcher said.
First nations up and down the coast are convinced that past mismanagement of the herring fishery has resulted in the extinction of local resident stocks that used to support their ancient marine economy.
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So where is the burden of proof supposed to be in these types of issues?
DFO purports to be about “conservation” first.
As well as operating under the ‘precautionary principle’ — so if there’s doubt on this issue then why open herring fisheries?
So, why take the risk?
Aren’t herring one of those crucial components of the food chain? — e.g. for endangered Fraser and East Coast Vancouver Is. Chinook salmon, which in turn are an essential food source for endangered resident Orcas in the Salish Sea (Georgia Strait). (Cull the endangered Orcas?)
How does this make sense?
Simply because some ‘scientists’ at DFO have decided there’s not enough information to label these ‘resident’ stocks — they they are fair game for fisheries?
Where’s the sense in this?
Is this not a ministry that needs a fundamental overall? Should there not be a process similar to the many calls for change, and actual change occurring within the RCMP — for example, independent reviews by citizens?
There is a fundamental problem when the same ministry that opens fisheries for commercial economic benefit is also fundamentally responsible for ‘conserving’ fish stocks.
The simple definition of ‘conservation’ and ‘preservation’ do not jive with the act of removing indigenous organisms from ecosystems — especially organisms as crucial to the food chain as herring.
Time for a fundamental overall… as opposed to these expensive judicial/public inquiries and endless court cases against a ministry that is broken, lost, and flailing.