Herring capture. (Photo: Stock File)
Herring fishery reopened despite First Nations' claims
Tuesday, March 03, 2015, 03:40 (GMT + 9)
A court of justice dismissed the application by five First Nations for an interlocutory injunction to close the West Coast of Vancouver Island roe herring fishery.
The judge ruled that that the First Nation applicants had not been able to demonstrate the required "real and substantial" irreparable harm to grant an injunction, the Herring Industry Advisory Board (HIAB) reported.
This oily fish has not been fished in three coastal pockets since 2005 due to over-fishing concerns and is believed to be in a seriously fragile state.
For her part, BC Seafood Alliance Executive Director Christina Burridge, remarked: "The federal court decision upholds the authority of the Minister to manage, conserve and develop Canada's fisheries for the benefit of all Canadians."
Burridge also pointed out: "The Minister's decision to open a modest, precautionary West Coast roe herring fishery was based on strong science, clear policy and a conservative approach. This judgement supports that."
In the fishing industry's opinion, the ruling confirms the herring levels are now sustainable.
“The fishing industry is fine with not fishing… when [herring stocks] need to re-build,” said Greg Thomas, HIAB chair. “But when the stocks resume, industry needs to access these areas to sustain the industry,” he added.
In addition, the industry group highlights that First Nations and commercial fisheries are “not far a part” since both want a sustainable fishery.
The BC Seafood Alliance is an umbrella organization whose members represent about 90 per cent of the value of wild seafood in BC, which is some CAD 850 million (USD 679 million) annually.