Friday, June 23, 2017
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced on Friday that the total allowable catch (TAC) for Southwest Nova Scotia/Bay of Fundy (SWNS/BoF) herring fisheries will be reduced by 15% from the previous year. The TAC was reduced to 42,500 tonnes from the previous 50,000 tonnes.
The Ecology Action Centre is pleased with this decision, as this herring stock has been struggling to rebuild for several years and previous steps taken by industry have not resulted in adequate progress towards recovery.
SWNS/BoF herring is considered in the “cautious” zone by DFO standards and has had a rebuilding plan in place since 2013, with minimal progress. The Ecology Action Centre previously recommended that the TAC for SWNS/BoF be reduced as science had raised concerns about current declines in spawning stock biomass estimates and that current management measures may not be adequate to meet the objectives in the rebuilding plan.
Herring are highly important to the marine ecosystem in this region, as prey for numerous species like seabirds, whales, sharks and tuna. They are also an important source of bait for many of Atlantic Canada’s most valuable fisheries as well as to directed commercial fishery. There is a considerable need for improved science knowledge with regards to SWNS/BoF herring, and currently DFO lacks the ability to accurately assess the health of the population or predict the effects of future decisions. With this in mind, it is crucial that fisheries management take precautionary measures, such as this reduction in TAC, to ensure the continued recovery and future health of the stock for the benefit of fishermen and the ecosystem.
For more information read our report on Making Forage Fish Count. For further comment please contact: