Original language of petition: English
The Government of Canada is committed to effectively managing 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, have large fluctuations in abundance, so a decline in biomass is not unexpected. Biomass forecasts are highly uncertain due to factors such as environmental conditions and predation, which vary from year to year. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) harvest management approach is designed to account for this variability. The performance of this approach has been evaluated by DFO Science and subjected to scientific peer review through a process involving consultation between First Nations, fishery managers, scientists and industry stakeholders. The approach is designed to be very likely to avoid spawning biomass levels below an established limit reference point.
Since the 2019-20 stock assessment shows that herring biomass in the Strait of Georgia is well above the limit reference point, the harvest level for the 2019-20 Strait of Georgia herring fishery was set at 10,895 metric tonnes, which was 20 per cent of the forecasted spawning biomass. This harvest level is considered precautionary, as it leaves 80 per cent of mature herring and all juvenile herring to support population and ecosystem processes such as food for salmon and marine mammals. The 2019-20 harvest level was reduced from previous years as a result of the lower biomass forecast. This 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 is detailed in the 2019-20 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan, which was developed following consultations 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.
|Province / Territory||Signatures|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||18|
|Prince Edward Island||6|