Open letter from Haida Nation on commercial herring fishery at Haida Gwaii | Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper

Open letter from Haida Nation on commercial herring fishery at Haida Gwaii

January 13, 2015

Herring Industry Advisory Board,

Attention: Greg Thomas, Chair

Canadian Fishing Company

Attention: Dan Nomura, President

Herring Industry Advisory Board:

Please bring this letter to the attention of all BC Commercial Herring Fishermen.

The Haida Nation was informed on December 17, 2014 that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is contemplating opening a commercial spawn on kelp and roe herring fisheries in the major stock assessment area of Haida Gwaii in 2015. The draft Management Plan distributed on January 2, 2015 indicates that DFO proposes to use a 10% harvest rate for this area and proposes to allocate 1,000 tons for the spawn on kelp fishery and 800 tons for a roe seine fishery.

Herring stocks on Haida Gwaii have not rebuilt sufficiently to support a fishery. In particular, we note that the amount of spawn in 2014 declined from 2013. Many DFO scientists and industry have both indicated a need to re-evaluate current herring management models and procedures. The current management approach is flawed and based on over-optimistic models with a high level of uncertainty. Continued closure of the commercial herring fishery in Haida Gwaii is necessary to allow stocks to rebuild and to facilitate development of a sound management approach. If the fishery is opened, we will resort to litigation to protect the herring.

We do not wish to cause undue hardship and expense to commercial herring fishermen, however the well-being of the herring is in all of our interests, and in the interests of future generations of fishers.  For these reasons, and the fact that the Haida Nation has closed this area, fishermen should not select the Haida Gwaii major stock assessment area.

We remain available to discuss these matters and explore how we might work together to ensure the long-term health of Haida Gwaii herring.

Respectfully on behalf of the Haida Nation,

kil tlaats'gaa Peter Lantin

President of the Haida Nation

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