Tag «herring»

2nd Victoria Herring Symposium: April 5

We received some news from Jim Shortreed, our local advocate for herring conservation:

With the generous support of the Capital Regional District the 2nd Victoria Herring symposium is ON.  The venue is the Gorge Waterway Pavilion, the evening of April 5. This is an evening of local knowledge of herring being shared.  Call me for tickets [Jim Shortreed 250 937 9475].

Setting Branches to attract Spawning Herring

This year everyone is getting organized to set hemlock branches at Fisherman’s Wharf, Causeway, Victoria International Marina, Banfield Marina, and Pearson International School at Pedder Bay. The Songhees First Nation is setting branches near Fisgard Light, that’s where the herring spawned in 2022. Its a fun project and easy to volunteer for.  Call me to volunteer, it’s fun and easy, you collect all sorts of sealife. Call me if you need your hemlock pruned, we’ll take all hemlock.

Feb 27 2024 email from Jim Shortreed

Herring spawn on Douglas Fir branches, Departure Bay

For background, please see our earlier post regarding the establishment of the Herring Conservation and Restoration Society.

Pacific Herring and Spawning

The ACS heard recently from Jim Shortread regarding Pacific herring fisheries. Jim thanked the ACS for supporting the Industrial Herring Moratorium.  Herring fisheries have now been closed south of Nanaimo and all the way to Race Rocks at the request of First Nations. 

On the 25th of March in 2022 there were 170 tonnes of herring spawn at Fisgard Light and Royal Beach.  Over the past decade herring spawning has been rather random. The last spawn at Esquimalt was 1998, and there are hopes for the herring to return this spring and spawn again. 

The Songhees First Nation is planning on setting hemlock branches at Fisgard Light and three marinas downtown: Fisherman’s Wharf, Causeway Marina and Victoria International Marina.  There will be a formal ceremony at Causeway Marina to call the herring in to spawn on the hemlock branches.

There is a strong volunteer team at Fisherman’s Wharf and that is the best spot to drop-in and see what they are doing; branches for herring spawn will be placed at Fishermen’s Wharf on March 11 starting at 10:00 AM. There will be nylon enhancement panels installed as well. Everything will be hung on the seaward side of the crab dock which is the furthest dock from the entrance.

Jim continues:

We are really looking forward to finding adult herring in the month of March.  We will dissect the herring and measure the weight of the gonads and the weight of the fish to determine if the herring will be spawning soon.

And if the herring do decide to spawn in Esquimalt again… well, then we need jiggers for sure. We need to collect 25 to 75 spawners for dissection and DNA sampling.

So any help you can give in finding adult herring in the month of March will be most appreciated.

For more information on this topic, or to volunteer your time and/or knowledge, please contact Jim Shortread by email or by phone.

Strait of Georgia Food & Bait Herring Fishery: Just say NO!

In FN1172, DFO asked for feedback regarding the Strait of Georgia DRAFT 2022/23 Food & Bait and Special Use Pacific Herring Commercial Plans.

Per the fishery notice:

Please provide any comments on the draft plans to the lead fishery managers below, by end of day on Wednesday, November 16, 2022:

Food & Bait:
Jim Meldrum - (250)895-0473
Email: james.meldrum@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Special Use: 
Marisa Keefe - (604) 354-0352 
Email: marisa.keefe@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Please contact Marisa if you require an additional method of providing feedback.

The ACS does NOT support this fishery, and has written a letter to DFO saying this.

DFO Science and many other sources recognize that the annual Food & Bait herring fishery is the primary reason for the extirpation of these unique local herring stocks. A commercial catch of 837 MT of food and bait herring in 2021-2022 within the Strait of Georgia does nothing toward the rebuilding of these local stocks. These herring are the life blood of the ocean which support numerous fish, bird and mammal species. Recent research shows that herring are the primary prey species for Chinook and Coho salmon.

Letter from ACS to DFO re: DRAFT 2022/2023 Food & Bait Herring fishery

We encourage you to join with us and voice your concern regarding this low value use of a most valuable marine resource. Please contact DFO before Nov. 16 to provide them your feedback.

Herring ball on the surface off Victoria waterfront.

DFO Halves Commercial Herring Fishery

As widely reported and announced by DFO here, the commercial Pacific herring fishery is to be substantially reduced.

This approach will see most commercial fisheries for Pacific herring closed, and limited to First Nations food, social and ceremonial fisheries. For the Strait of Georgia, harvesting will be reduced to a 10% harvest rate, with a maximum total allowable catch of 7,850 tonnes.


The commercial fishery sector is critical of this change, as shown here and here.

Environmental groups will no doubt support this decision, and point to FNs that practice a spawn-on-kelp fishery as a better alternative that leaves the herring to spawn for years. The commercial fleet harvests and kills herring primarily for their roe.

Herring Roe Fishery: Comments Sought

Pacific Wild has alerted us to the opportunity to provide DFO with our thoughts on the herring roe fishery. The ACS is responding in support of a reduction in this fishery that drastically reduces a key support of the food chain that, in the local ocean, leads to the southern resident killer whales.

Herring are a critical food source for chinook and coho salmon and a valuable link in the food chain which supports not only these salmonids but also numerous other fish species. By extension, herring also support the salmon eating resident Orcas and other marine mammal species.

The Amalgamated Conservation Society would like to see the commercial roe/reduction herring fishery curtailed but, at a very minimum, suggest that quotas be reduced by 30% coastwide – to take effect immediately.

DFO is taking comments until January 9. You may express your own thoughts on this issue to:

Victoria Postlethwaite
Pelagic Management Unit
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
1420-401 Burrard Street
Vancouver BC V6C 3S4
phone 604-666-7851
email victoria.postlethwaite@dfo-mpo.gc.ca