Voice your opposition of B.C.’s unsustainable herring fishery

The most effective way to help Pacific herring is to write to your local representatives and Fisheries Minister, Diane Lebouthillier, telling them that you support an immediate moratorium and movement towards an ecosystem-based approach to management of the herring fishery. This would allow populations to come back to historic levels. It’s time for Fisheries and Oceans Canada to protect this #BIGLittleFish for generations to come.

Send a Personalized Email or Letter

Personal notes are highly valued and can be important in the fight for truly sustainable fisheries. Introduce yourself, where you are from and some key points outlining why you care about Pacific herring. Even a short and simple note can make a difference.

  1. Diane Lebouthillier, Minister, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Mailing Address: MP Diane Lebouthillier, Minister, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    House of Commons, Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0A6
    Email: diane.lebouthillier@parl.gc.ca
  2. MP Gord Johns (NDP Fisheries Critic)
    Mailing Address: MP Gord Johns, Courtenay – Alberni
    1209 East Island, Suite 12, Parksville, British Columbia, V9P 1R5
    Email: Gord.Johns@parl.gc.ca
  3. Find the contact info for your local MP here

To help you compose your message, here are some reasons that Pacific Wild believes that there should be a moratorium on the commercial herring kill fishery and a focus on incorporating traditional ecological knowledge and ecosystem-based management to fisheries in B.C.:

  1. Four out of five commercial gill net and seine fishing grounds have been closed in recent years. The gillnet and seine herring fisheries off Haida Gwaii, the Central Coast, and the West Coast of Vancouver Island have been closed (Prince Rupert had a very small opening in 2023) due to small populations and overexploitation of the fishery. The Strait of Georgia is home to the last stronghold of Pacific herring in B.C. that annually remains open commercial gillnet and seine fisheries.
  2. Many First Nations are calling for a moratorium. First Nations have fished Pacific herring sustainably for thousands of years. Herring needs to be managed with cultural and ecological knowledge and by listening to what First Nations are telling us. This critical work is already underway in Haida Gwaii.
  3. There is growing scientific evidence of distinct herring populations or sub-stocks in B.C.. Federal and provincial historical records indicate that there are both migratory and resident herring populations in the common commercial fishing areas. It has been observed that resident sub-stocks are extremely depleted and yet are still being grouped with the migratory sub-stocks. When small local stocks are fished as part of a larger-scale quota, they may collapse. In B.C., many of these small local stocks have already been extirpated after the massive stock collapse in the 1960s.
  4. Pacific herring play a key role in the coastal ecosystem, transferring energy from plankton (tiny plants and animals) to bigger animals, from salmon to seabirds to whales. Herring are an important food for fish like Chinook and coho salmon, lingcod, Pacific halibut, and Pacific hake. Marine mammals also rely on herring, including humpback whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, and seals. As well, endangered Southern Resident killer whales depend on Chinook salmon which depend on herring.
  5. The sac roe fishery is unsustainable. This fishery catches herring right before spawning, interrupting the production of billions of fertilized eggs, year after year. The seine and gillnet kill fishery removes fish that would have the ability to spawn up to ten times throughout their lifecycle.
  6. DFO is using the wrong population baseline. If we are to continue the herring fishery, we must first address the current management system that uses an incomplete population estimate. The current management system uses a baseline from 1951, a point when herring numbers were already greatly reduced from when the commercial fishery began in the late 1800s. 

If you’re sending an email, we kindly ask that you copy oceans@pacificwild.org. If you are writing a handwritten note, please send us a picture of your letter to oceans@pacificwild.org. This will help us track our campaign progress!
Better yet, share a photo of your handwritten letter or a screenshot of your email on social media and tag us @pacificwild!

Send a Pre-Written Email voicing your opposition of B.C.'s unsustainable herring fishery