EDITORIAL: Herring have drawing power

The herring have made their annual migration to the shores of Parksville Qualicum Beach, and have brought with them the usual cast of marine mammals, birds and fishing boats all seeking a share of the tasty morsels they provide.

The herring have also ushered in the unlikely spectacle of commercial fishing as a spectator sport.

Hundreds of people, locals and visitors alike, flocked to the rocky shore and breakwater of French Creek marina, to the wide sandy beach of Parksville and to the bluffs overlooking Parksville Bay to take in the spectacle.

Sure, sport fishing programming has appeared on television for decades. Especially in the U.S., where the genre is so popular it spawned its own network, the World Fishing Network.

More recently, even commercial fishing has found its way to the screen, through the Deadliest Catch series that allows viewers a glimpse on board crab boats in the hazardous Bering Sea off Alaska’s coast.

But you don’t find people travelling to gather on the storm-tossed coast of Alaska to train their telephoto lenses on crab boats that have long-since left sight of shore.

The herring run along B.C.’s southern coast is unique in that it brings the fishery to the doorsteps of a populated area. And the population has taken notice.

Beginning Friday evening and continuing well into Sunday, people stormed the beach with cameras, binoculars, phones or simply a set of eyeballs to take in the show. Some took to kayaks or small boats to paddle on the periphery of the action as the shutters snapped.

Supported by a welcome break in the weather that brought blue skies and spectacular sunsets, spectators were treated not only to the sight of fishers hauling in nets crammed with glittering herring, but to many species of birds wheeling and swooping for their share, as sea lions performed a stately parade in the foreground.

Social media comments to The NEWS ranged from former residents who told us they miss the frenzy of the herring run since moving from the area, to newcomers who said they had been told of it but were still awed to see the waters offshore change colour before their eyes.

The Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association gives our coast a place of prominence in its promotion of the region, with specific links on its website to Harbours & Marinas and to beaches in Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Lighthouse Country to the north.

The uncertain date of the fishing opening from year-to-year might make it problematic from a scheduling standpoint. But the people have spoken, and they’re saying the herring run deserves its place in the sun.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News

Just Posted

Woodyatt seeks help to pursue physics education in London

Ballenas Secondary product gets accepted to prestigious university in United Kingdom

Solar system spending, asbestos removal in SD69 plan

Green house gas emission report received at May 22 board meeting

Gr. 7s learn about digital safety, health, consent at con in Parksville

SD69 hosts first Health and Wellness Conference for students headed to high school

Qualicum Beach east village plans take shape

Staff moving forward with east village concept

Three-for-one at Parksville studio for tour

Local artists participating in Central Island Studio Tour May 26-27

VIDEO: Meet some of the Vancouver Island Tribute Festival performers

The NEWS speaks with Elvis, Liberace tribute artists and others before they go on parade

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Pipeline supporters rally across B.C.

Five simultaneous events organized by month-old Suits and Boots lobby group

VIDEO: B.C. woman praises burn fund after boat explosion in 1978

White Rock woman was 16 years old when she was left with second- and third-degree burns

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

RCMP investigating after gunshots fired in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP officers are investigating after gunshots rang out in Courtenay… Continue reading

Vancouver Island wife brings husband back to life with CPR, thanks to 911 dispatcher

‘The dispatcher literally taught me CPR over the phone’

Most Read