First Nations, union agree herring fishery should stay shut
First Nations say there aren't enough herring to re-open the fishery, stocks need to rebuild
The union representing fishermen is joining the Haida First Nation and Nuu-chah-nulth tribal council to oppose the opening of herring fisheries in Haida Gwaii and the west coast of Vancouver Island this year.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans wants to re-open the fisheries this year, but the two groups say herring stocks still need to rebuild.
"There weren't as many herring that spawned out there last year as DFO's models suggest," Don Hall, the manager of the fisheries department for the Nuu-chah-nulth, told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.
Last year, the Nuu-chah-nulth won an injunction against the DFO to stop the fishery from opening. Both the Nuu-chah-nulth and the Haida said if the DFO doesn't back down this year, they will go to the courts to stop the fisheries.
Last night commercial fishermen held a meeting to talk about this year's strategy.
President of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers' Union-Unifor Kim Olsen said some fisherman wanted to go ahead and open the fisheries, but most sided with the First Nations.
"Generally the fisherman agree that if there's a stock of concern, we should stand down and not fish it," he said.
"We feel that the Nuu-chah-nulth and the Haida have been watching these stocks. They're on the ground. I feel we have to support their call for no fishery."
Herring stocks have been doing well in the Georgia Strait. Those fisheries on the east side of Vancouver Island will open this year.
The DFO declined to comment.
To hear the full interview with Don Hall and Kim Olsen, click the audio labelled: Should herring fishery open?