Original language of petition: English
We, the undersigned residents of Canada, draw the attention of the Government of Canada to the following:
THEREFORE, we the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the government of Canada to suspend the 2020 Salish Sea herring fishery until a whole ecosystem plan is developed, to fairly compensate local fishers for economic losses, and to ensure that decisions are made with the full participation of First Nations and local communities.
The Government of Canada is committed to effectively managing the Pacific herring fisheries through evidence-based decisions, ensuring the health and sustainability of these stocks into the future. We share your view that Pacific herring is an important source of food for many species on the Pacific coast and recognize that herring is an integral part of First Nations’ culture and that First Nations have priority access to herring for food, social, and ceremonial purposes, after conservation.
Pacific herring are a forage fish species, and as such share the prevalent population dynamic of large fluctuations in biomass abundance, and so a decline in biomass is not unexpected. Additionally, forecasts are highly uncertain because factors such as environmental conditions and predation vary from year to year. DFO’s harvest management approach is designed to account for this variability. The performance of the approach has been evaluated by DFO Science and subjected to scientific peer review. The approach is designed to be very likely to avoid spawning biomass levels below a limit reference point.
The harvest level for the 2019-20 Strait of Georgia herring fishery is 10,895 metric tonnes (harvest rate of 20 per cent of the forecasted spawning biomass). The allowable catch has been reduced by more than 50 per cent from the 2018-19 fishing season in response to the lower stock forecast for 2020. This maximum harvest level is considered precautionary, leaving 80 per cent of mature herring and all juveniles available to support future populations and ecosystem processes, such as food for salmon and marine mammals. The reduced allowable catch is consistent with the conservation goals of the management approach and provides opportunity for industry, including those First Nations that participate in the commercial fishery.
The approach outlined above was detailed in the 2019-20 Pacific herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan and released as draft from December 18, 2019 – January 17, 2020, for a 30-day consultation period with First Nations’ communities and organizations, and stakeholders such as commercial harvesters. The consultation process ensures that fishery management decisions are transparent, made with the best available science, and informed by Indigenous, commercial harvester, and public considerations.
Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.