Early herring season looks good

Fishery not as large as in years past, but promising, says DFO

Coast Guard vessel CCGH Siyay is the Shipping News Boat of the Week.

Coast Guard vessel CCGH Siyay is the Shipping News Boat of the Week.

It’s early yet, but the upcoming herring season is looking promising, says a Fisheries and Oceans scientist.

Greg Thomas said he is anticipating a fishery of 10,000 tons, split between gillnetters and seiners.

“It’s not a large fishery compared to recent years, but in terms of abundance, it’s looking good,” he said. “There’s a large body of herring, between 50,000 and 60,000 tons.”

The fish, concentrated in the lower Lambert channel and Norris Rock areas around Hornby Island, although there are also some fish on the Qualicum shore, with some fish moving into Baynes Sound. Thomas said a test boat has been taking biological samples of the fish and found the roe maturity to be fairly low.

“But they are starting to mature, so it’s difficult to say about timing (of the fishery) because things can change pretty quick,” he said. “We are a little ways away from spawning, but it’s difficult to tell with herring.”

He noted the fishery is related to the stock size, with a percentage of the overall numbers forecast going to the harvest. However, this year is seeing another factor taking a role.

“This year, demand for herring is not as great as in the past, so we are harvesting less than the allowable catch,” he said.

• Amazing Grace took over top spot from Flight, which dropped to third after two first place finishes in a row, when the Schooner Cove Yacht Club held its fourth race of their Hot Rum Series on Sunday.

Second place went to Shingebiss, which has had consistently strong showings. Trinity, which did not finish the first race and finished seventh and fifth in the next two contests, bumped up a spot to fourth. Silent Motion stayed true to form, finishing fifth.

The final race of the Hot Rum Series takes place on March 11.


• One of the more exciting sights on the water has to be the Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft CCGH Siyay — and for mariners in trouble, she can be a welcome sight indeed.

Seen occasionally in the central Island area, Siyay is based at Sea Island in Richmond, with the primary mission of performing search and rescue missions in the Fraser River and the Georgia Strait. However, the 28.5 metre ship also serves as one of the two platforms for the Coast Guard’s only dive rescue team.

Designed by Westland Aerospace, Siyay has a complement of three officers and one crew and her four Caterpillar diesel engines can propel her to a top speed of 72 knots.