Concern raised about herring quota cuts



SaltWire Network


Conservative MP Rick Perkins, the shadow minister for Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, issued the following statement in light of reports that the herring fishery off southwest Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy will be facing quota cuts of as high as 63 per cent in the coming weeks: “Once again, the Minister of Fisheries is planning to slash quota from fishers right before the season begins. These cuts have huge impacts on the livelihoods of the men and women who make a living on the sea, and the sustainability of our fishing industry. The Department of Fisheries (DFO) has used lackluster science before when taking stock assessments, and they seem to be doing it again. DFO needs to ensure that robust scientific studies that include acoustic biomass assessments are taking place prior to making drastic quota cuts. Without acoustic biomass studies, the Minister has no actual data to verify the size of the hearing biomass. Herring is also one of the two main bait fish for lobster fishing. Combined with the closure last month by the minister of the mackerel fishery based on questionable science that does not include acoustic soundings, and the fact that there has not been surveys in the Scotian Shelf in more than a decade, while Americans still fish mackerel, the Liberal government is destroying the ability of coastal communities to earn a living based on political and not scientific decision making. DFO must also assess the impacts pinnipeds are having on the herring stock being in the critical zone. That is why I am thrilled to be supporting MP Clifford Small's Bill C-251 in the House of Commons, which calls for a yearly pinniped census to be conducted by DFO along with an annual management plan of the species. Ten million seals in Atlantic Canada consume the weight of the of the entire Atlantic commercial catch, every 15 days. On top of that, seals in Atlantic Canada eat annually 24 times what fishers catch in all species over an entire year. Without reputable scientific assessments, and a truthful recognition of the destructive impact of pinnipeds on our fish stocks, our fishing industry does not support unscientific quota cuts and reductions. I call on the Minister to not end the herring fishery until she has consulted with licence holders in accordance with a recent BC Federal Court ruling on the Minister's administrative powers.”