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Herring stocks may be on the rise, says herring biologist

A seminar in Parksville this weekend will focus on Pacific Herring and how important these small fish are to us locally.

“They are one of the keystones of the ecosystem and they support lots of other species,” said herring biologist Jake Schweigert, who will be one of the presenters at the event.

Schweigert said not only do the fish help support lower parts of the ecosystem like algae but they are food sources to fish as well as humans.

The fish are easily affected by changes in environmental conditions, Schweigert explained, which is why their population had been decreasing over the last five years. Today however, that is stabilizing and may even be increasing, he said.

The seminar, called Spotlight on Pacific Herring: The Stories & Science of a Big Little Local Fish, will include four speakers, with Schweigert focusing on stock assessments of the fish.

Three other speakers will look at a fisherman’s view of the Gulf Herring Fisheries, what is right and wrong with the herring roe fishery and also host a discussion on herring, wildlife, and sustainable economics. The causal seminar, put on by the Mount Arrowmsmith Biosphere Foundation (MABF), is a preamble to the upcoming Brant Wildlife Festival.

The seminar happens Sat., Feb.12 at 7 p.m. at the Parksville Community & Conference Centre on Jensen Avenue.

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