Herring Aid group stages Vancouver Island rally

Peter and Lynne Cracknell of Nanaimo hold up a sign for passing motorists, as more than 100 people attended a rally, organized by Herring Aid, Sunday in Qualicum Beach. (PQB News photo)
More than 100 people attended a rally, organized by Herring Aid, Sunday in Qualicum Beach. (PQB News photo)
Karen Taylor holds up a sign for passing motorists, as more than 100 people attended a rally, organized by Herring Aid, Sunday in Qualicum Beach. (PQB News photo)
More than 100 people attended a rally, organized by Herring Aid, Sunday in Qualicum Beach. (PQB News photo)
Locky Maclean, Conservancy Hornby Island, with Chief George Quocksister Jr. Hereditary Chief of the Laichkwiltach Nation, on their way to the Herring Rally in Qualicum Beach on March. 1. (Jean Remi photo)
More than 100 people attended a rally, organized by Herring Aid, Sunday in Qualicum Beach. (PQB News photo)

More than 100 people gathered at the Qualicum Beach waterfront on Sunday, for a rally in support of the protection of Pacific herring.

Rally organizers want industrial herring fishing suspended and want the herring to spawn and harvest roe in the wild, so they can respawn and feed the ecosystem.

Locky MacLean, who helps run Herring Fest on Hornby Island, arrived to the event with Chief George Quocksister Jr., Hereditary Chief of the Laichkwiltach Nation, by boat.

“Chief George’s stories about herring and how much it plays an important role in traditional culture along this coast, really highlights how little respect [the Department of Fisheries and Oceans] has toward Indigenous knowledge and experience, and how industry controls a fishery with no regards to the habitat or peoples who for thousands of years co-existed with an abundant herring population,” he said. “We need a moratorium to allow stocks to recover, and in future, this fishery needs to be co-managed with real stakeholders like First Nations, not industry lobbyists.”

The only remaining area of spawn is the background of the demonstration — it lies between Qualicum Beach and Comox. The fish are a primary food source for Chinook salmon. In turn, the food supply for endangered killer whales is under attack as well, since they rely on the Chinook for 80 per cent of their diet.

READ MORE: Rally planned in Qualicum Beach in support of herring

The event comes after MP Gord Johns voiced his support for the closing of the last herring fishery on Vancouver Island.

“I fully support the call by 53 Vancouver Island municipalities and the Islands Trust in their resolutions for a suspension of the Salish Sea herring fishery in keeping with the importance of applying a precautionary approach until the stocks have had a chance to rebuild. Further, I urge the government to provide meaningful financial compensation to local fishers affected,” said Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns earlier this year.

Several fishers were on hand at the rally and are on the other side of the debate. Rob Morley, chairman of the Herring Industry advisory board, said he sees some numbers around the dwindling fish population as misleading.

“This is a population that goes up and down through natural causes,” he said.

Morley also pointed to the number of jobs the industry creates, and what the loss of the last fishery could mean for communties.

“It’s worth about $40 million to the B.C. economy,” he said “It supports hundreds, if not thousands, of family-based businesses and individuals living in coastal communities.”

cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Fisheries and Oceans Canadafishingqualicum beach

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

March precipitation way below normal

A 36.3 mm total in the Chemainus Valley a far cry from the usual 132.3 mm

Proposed tax increases not sustainable

Seniors’ quality of life taking a hit year after year

School District 79 works with community partners on food distribution

Ensuring students in need are fed a high priority

Promotion offered for farmers, businesses and artisans hard hit by COVID-19

Chemainus’ Summerhayes providing listings free of charge

Long list of events disrupted by COVID-19 around the community

Challenging situation affecting fundraisers, entertainment, sports and more

As 300K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

Most Read