Herring by consent

Differing opinions about allowing continuation of the herring fishery annually pit the environmentalists against commercial interests.

Differing opinions about allowing continuation of the herring fishery annually pit the environmentalists against those parties with commercial interests.

If you wish to see how the residents of Oceanside felt about this issue a few years ago, have a look at The NEWS’ “Question of the Day (QOTD)” from eight or 10 years ago.

The QOTD asked whether the commercial herring fishery should be allowed. The number of responses undoubtedly set the record for a QOTD, with (as I remember) more that 400 votes tallied. I recall more than 350 respondents said ‘no.’ Nothing substantial has changed to make one think these results wouldn’t be replicated today if the same question were asked.

We should be able to rely on the regulatory agencies who are the paid “experts” to make the right decisions regarding our fisheries, based on all considerations. Unfortunately — whether from past experience or a lack of valid information — we, the public, have lost confidence that these agencies are truly serving their stewardship mandate.

One mustn’t lose sight of the fact that natural resources — including wild fish, forests, minerals, kelp, urchins, etc. — belong to all of us. Commercial gain from these should be with our consent.

If, as is suggested by the experts, the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia) has such a glut of herring and their spawn, let’s sell the unneeded spawn to the Japanese. Then they once again can harvest their own herring into extinction.

Warren BaileyQualicum Beach

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