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2023 Herring Direction From Minister & HIAB Recommendations

This week, the Minister provided DFO Herring Managers with direction for the 2022-2023 Herring IFMP which includes the following:

Prince Rupert:

  • 5% harvest rate which results in a total TAC of 1,786 tons.
  • Allocations in PRD are 600 tons for FSC, 1,000 tons for SOK, 186 tons for roe fishery.

Central Coast:

  • 7% harvest rate resulting in a total TAC of 1,440 tons.
  • 600 for FSC, 665 tons for Heiltsuk SOK and 175 tons for other SOK.

SOG:

  • 10% harvest rate – TAC of 6,625 tons.
  • 35 tons for FSC, 6,590 tons to support commercial fisheries for Special Use, Food and Bait and Roe herring.

Haida Gwaii and WCVI:

  • Major areas are open to FSC harvest only.

Area 2W, 10, 12 and 27:

  • Open to FSC harvest only (no Commercial SOK access).

UFAWU-Unifor sits on the Herring Industry Advisory Board (HIAB), and Union representatives met with members to make recommendations to HIAB on their behalf. HIAB has communicated the following statement and recommendations to DFO:

“HIAB members are extremely disappointed and upset with the Minister's decisions on herring allowable harvest rates, particularly for Strait of Georgia and Prince Rupert areas.

Credible, peer-reviewed science supports far higher harvest rates in both areas that can support viable, sustainable fisheries of great importance to the industry - including fishers, processors, and support industry services in both indigenous and non-indigenous communities up and down the coast. HIAB continues to request sustainable harvest rates of 20% for SOG and a minimum of 10% for Prince Rupert. With the healthy herring resources in both areas, those harvests levels can support vibrant fisheries for all gear types.

At the level of TAC set, after deducting allocations for FSC and SOK fisheries, the quota available to commercial food and bait and roe fisheries support very limited commercial fisheries for both gillnet and seine fisheries. For the seine fishery, the exorbitant license fees take most of the value out of the fishery.

As a result of the very limited tonnage available many indigenous and non-indigenous gillnet and seine fishers will be displaced from the fishery this coming season. For those that are forced out of the fishery, many will be lost to not only the herring fishery, but also to other fisheries in the future.

HIAB recommends that DFO provide immediate relief on the seine license fees to provide at least a chance for those seiners that do participate to make a modest income.

Given the TAC available for roe herring fisheries, HIAB recommends the following allocations for Prince Rupert and Strait of Georgia:

  1. Prince Rupert
    • Gillnet fishery only —186 tons
  2. Strait of Georgia:
    • Gillnet fishery — 2,611 tons
    • Seine fishery — 3,191 tons

As in the past, when more than one area is open, HIAB recommends that gillnet licence holders are given the option of selecting to put their licence a pool in one or the other of the two areas and the quota from that area would be allocated in equal shares to each licence selecting the area. The SOG Seine quota would be allocated equally to each licence.

Given the late date for decisions on quotas and the need for business planning, HIAB requests early decisions from DFO on what the quotas and rules will be for the 2023 roe herring fisheries. HIAB has no further recommendations on licensing conditions or pooling.

Given the late date for decisions on quotas and the need for business planning, HIAB requests early decisions from DFO on what the quotas and rules will be for the 2023 roe herring fisheries.”

UFAWU-Unifor representatives are pleased that HIAB supported their request on behalf of our members to recommend a herring fishery in the Prince Rupert District.

In the past three years, HIAB recommended the transferability of quota between gear groups to provide flexibility given the economic burden of high lease rates/expenses in the face of decreasing quotas. This year, HIAB was unable to come to a consensus regarding the issue of transferability of quota between gear groups, and therefore made no recommendation. DFO’s current response is that without a recommendation from HIAB for quota transferability they would not include it in the 2022 season planning.

UFAWU-Unifor reps are glad that HIAB supported their recommendations to recommend a herring fishery in the Prince Rupert District.

UFAWU-Unifor will also be releasing a separate statement directly on behalf of Union members.

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© UFAWU-Unifor 2023
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