The Heiltsuk Nation and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) have reached an agreement for a 2016 Central Coast Herring Management Plan. The 2016 Herring Management Plan supports a 7% harvest rate, which will provide for a Heiltsuk FSC and SOK fishery (1725 tons)! This 7% harvest rate will also allow for a small commercial sac roe fishery for industry (215 tons). DFO has also agreed Spiller Channel will be a nogo zone for all sac roe fisheries in 2016! There will be a Heiltsuk observer on the DFO platform vessel. This management approach, based in part on science from Heiltsuk hired scientists, is significantly more cautious than past DFO management approaches. Since March 2015, a Herring Working Group and Technical Team comprised of DFO and Heiltsuk representatives have had several collaborative meetings to discuss the details of the 2016 Herring Management Plan. These meetings represent a significant shift in the relationship between Heiltsuk and DFO regarding herring management, especially toward DFO’s compliance with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R v Gladstone. DFO has signalled to Heiltsuk that it is prepared to recognize our constitutionally protected role as manager, user, and steward of this important fishery. Moving forward, Heiltsuk and DFO have agreed to working collaboratively on a long-term, sustainable management strategy for Central Coast herring. HTC and HIRMD are committed to ensuring that all management plans will adequately sustain both the ecosystem and Heiltsuk fisheries for future generations. A more detailed newsletter will be available on the HIRMD website (www.hirmd.ca) and Bella Bella Facebook page by Wednesday, January 20th. Hard copies will also be available at the HIRMD Office.
For question, feel free to contact HIRMD: 250-957-2303 Ǧiáxsix̌ a