In response to a couple of letters on the recent commercial herring fishery in our area, I would like to set the record straight with some actual facts.
I have personally been fishing these specific herring stocks 39 of the last 40 years in the area from Comox to Nanaimo. This year’s abundance ranked near the top of those 39 years for returns.
These fish have helped to feed my family, and have sustained many other families on the Island through the rise and fall of many of the fisheries throughout the years. French Creek Seafood in Parksville has many employees that also rely on this fishery.
The fishery harvests only between 10 and 20 per cent of the total biomass. Think of the herring biomass as being a football field 100 ft deep in herring equalling 115,000 tons, with the fishery harvesting 15 feet equalling 13,000 tons, leaving 85 feet equalling 102,000 tons of herring — leaving this significant biomass to spawn and feed the seals, salmon, sea lions, eagles, brant geese and many other marine species that rely on the herring and the spawn after the fishery is complete.
This fishery is well managed and sustainable. Most countries harvest up to 50 per cent of their pelagic fish. This is a model fishery with accurate catch reporting and good science.
One of my family’s main reasons for choosing Qualicum Beach as our home was due to sustainable fisheries such as this year’s herring fishery!
Not only did we have an increased abundance this year but the size of the herring was also significantly larger than past years. We look forward to healthy fisheries for all species for sport, Native and commercial fisherman in the future in the Strait of Georgia.