Stop the Destruction of Essential Herring Populations

Herring-research-catch-us-government

Target: Hunter Tootoo, Minister of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Goal: Stop the overfishing of a species essential to the health of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

For the second year in a row, the Canadian government has allowed the fishing of the Pacific herring. The herring were fished by the tens of thousands of tons first for fish oil and now for their roe, or eggs, which are commonly used for sushi. The population has been so small that there hasn’t been a fishing season in a decade, until last year and again this year.

Scientists, Native people, and even commercial fishing groups object to fishing the Pacific herring. These schooling forage fish serve as an important and irreplaceable food source for bigger animals in the ocean. The Pacific herring are four times higher in calories than most other fish and are food for pelicans, sea ducks, humpback whales, sea lions, sharks, larger fish, and bears.

World populations of herring have declined, especially in North American waters, without a chance at recovery. Generally, wherever forage fish populations decline, so do the numbers of seabirds. It is inconceivable that the Canadian government is refusing to focus on ending causes of declining populations, such as overfishing, oil spills, toxic runoff, and habitat destruction on the coast.

Canada has come dangerously close to decimating an important population of Pacific herring. If Canadians do not stop fishing these already low numbers of herring, the rest of the world’s ecosystems will suffer tremendously. Demand that Canada stop fishing the Pacific herring today, before the animals that feed on them starve to death.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Tootoo,

The Pacific herring population is dangerously low. With the decline of herring populations also come serious consequences for the marine wildlife that depend on this energy-rich forage fish for survival.

Scientists, Native people, and even commercial fishing groups understand the importance of protecting the herring populations. Herrings serve as an important and irreplaceable food source for pelicans, sea ducks, humpback whales, sea lions, sharks, larger fish, and bears. Without these forage fish, world populations of animals will suffer.

World populations of herring have declined, especially in North American waters, and are in desperate need of a chance to recover. I demand that Canada stop fishing the Pacific herring today before it’s too late for the animals that feed on them.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: U.S. Government

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