Media Release: UFAWU-Unifor Response to Herring Fisheries Closures

CAMPBELL RIVER, Dec 17, 2021 — Yesterday, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard Joyce Murray announced a new approach to Pacific herring management that will see “most commercial fisheries for Pacific herring closed” in yet another severe blow to BC commercial harvesters and their communities.  

“Everyone has been blindsided by this announcement,” UFAWU-Unifor Vice President Helen Anne Beans said.  

This troubling news arrives just months after Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) announcement of the Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative (PSSI) — a plan that involved the closure of 79 salmon fisheries.   

This news also arrives as prawn harvesters push back on a DFO decision that would see prawn tubbing regulations changed in a manner that would hurt food security and create unnecessary plastic waste.  

“Commerical harvesters are having their livelihoods stripped away from them without meaningful consultation or compensation,” UFAWU-Unifor President James Lawson said. 

“These decisions also impact the public as they erode access to local seafood.”  

Like the PSSI salmon closures and prawn tubbing regulation reinterpretation, the decision to close herring fisheries is being heavily criticized by industry experts for a lack of grounding in science.  

Despite the herring fishery being in DFO’s “healthy” zone, DFO’s decision will see harvest reduced from 15,700 tonnes to 7,850 tonnes.  

“DFO is not making decisions based on industry consultation or science,” Lawson said.  

 So our question is: ‘what is influencing the minister’s decisions?’” 

For more information or to schedule an interview with a spokesperson, please contact UFAWU-Unifor Communications Organizer Liam Hill-Allan at communications@ufawu.org.