Target: Hunter Tootoo, Minister of Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Goal: Don’t reopen the controversial herring fishery off of British Columbia.
The population of Pacific herring has significantly declined over the past 100 years due to overfishing, and if the Canadian government succeeds in reopening a controversial fishery off of the British Columbia coast these fish will be even more at risk. For the second year in a row the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is ignoring the protests of scientists, First Nation communities, and even commercial fishing groups in favor of a corporate-controlled fishery that scoops up huge amounts of herring without concern for conservation. This fishery must be replaced with a sustainable alternative in order to keep the herring population from dwindling to critical lows.
The Pacific herring is a vitally important species for the B.C. coast because of the role it plays in the ecosystem, both in water and on land. Herring serve as forage for larger animals in the sea and along the coasts, and are also a staple food for the Native tribes on Vancouver Island and on Haida Gwaii. The management of the federal fishery is not taking into account the herring’s role in the ecosystem, and furthermore their methods for estimating the size of the herring population are not reliable. If they succeed in reopening the fishery, both the Native communities and the coastal environment will suffer.
The Heiltsuk and other First Nation communities have been advocating for a sustainable alternative to the corporate fishery. They have methods to harvest the herring’s roe without harming the fish, so that adult herring can continue to spawn in the future. In contrast, the corporate-controlled fishery nets the herring, exports the roe, and uses the dead fish for pet food, fish farm pellets and fertilizer.
Reopening the fishery will lead to overfishing and cause serious harm to the herring population. Sign the petition below to support the First Nation communities advocating for a sustainable alternative, and urge the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans to reconsider their plan to reopen the fishery.
Dear Honourable Hunter Tootoo,
The controversial herring fishery off of British Columbia must not be reopened. The Pacific herring is a vital species because of its role in the ecosystem, and its population has dramatically decreased over the past 100 years due to overfishing. If the fishery reopens, both the coastal environment and the First Nation communities that live along the coast will suffer.
The Heiltsuk and other First Nation communities have a sustainable alternative that harvests the herring’s roe without harming the fish so that adult herring can continue to spawn for years to come. If the Department of Fisheries and Oceans considers this alternative, the threatened herring will have a chance at survival.
I am urging you to heed the protests of scientists, First Nation communities, and commercial fishing groups. Please take action to keep the fishery from reopening, and consider sustainable alternatives.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ian McAllister