August 12, 2009
FISHING INTO THE FUTURE – THE HERRING FISHERY IN EASTERN CANADA
Moncton N.B. - The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council released today to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, its strategic conservation framework for Atlantic herring entitled Fishing into the Future: The herring Fishery in eastern Canada.
During the 2008 winter months, the FRCC held a series of 15 public consultations with stakeholders throughout Atlantic Canada and Québec. The Council also received written briefs from interested parties.
The report provides 10 recommendations aimed at identifying actions that can be taken by governments and the herring industry to secure sound management and harvesting practices. During its consultations, the FRCC asked stakeholders to provide input on science, fishing practices, management and the ecosystem.
Given the diversity of the fisheries that rely on herring as a resource (i.e. weir fishery in the Bay of Fundy, bait fisheries for lobster and snow crab fisheries, a commercial herring fishery and others) the Council looked at general weaknesses and strengths in the fisheries. The goal was to provide advice to support a sustainable harvest. The recommendations are directed at the conservation and management of fisheries.
The FRCC’s recommendations take into account the realities of the fisheries and the resources available to both industry and Fisheries and Oceans. The recommendations suggest minimum measures that should be adopted in all areas. Such measures include implementing a minimum of one abundance indicator for each stock and recommending that objectives be set through a series of Integrated Fisheries Management Plans.
Hence, Council’s advice is general in nature with the exception of recommended action for 4T spring spawning herring. The Council has determined that this resource is in a critical state and immediate action should be taken to further protect and restore 4T spring spawning herring.
Council recognizes the importance of sourcing herring as bait in support of such key fisheries as the lobster, crab, tuna fisheries, etc. The Council also recognizes the importance of accounting for all removals in order to provide proper scientific assessment.
The Council recommends the renewals of all the Fishery Management Plans for herring. The FRCC outlines the importance of herring as a forage species and is suggesting that industry and DFO incorporate an ecosystem based approach to decision making. The risk assessment
aproach will provide a process by which industry would identify potential threats to the resource and fisheries and allow for mitigating measures to counter any negative impacts, including those of human activities outside the fisheries.
“Many recommendations are directed towards increasing shared decision-making between DFO and stakeholders,” noted Mr. Jean Guy d’Entremont, Chairman of the FRCC. The report also highlights the problems associated with poor fishing practices. “Unfortunately, despite efforts from some harvesters and processors, Atlantic Canada herring has a poor reputation on the international market. Industry, DFO and provinces need to establish ground rules aimed at fostering a higher quality product which will result in increased benefits to all,” added Mr. d’Entremont.
Finally, the FRCC recommends that a policy for closed area be developed through an open and transparent process. The Council has acknowledged the use of closed areas for management and conservation purposes. It is of the view that DFO should establish a clear policy and provide guidance to industry based on long-term objectives.
The full text of the report is available on the FRCC’s website at:http:
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