B.C. First Nation, fisheries officials agree to herring management plan

VANCOUVER - A First Nation on British Columbia's central coast is applauding what it says is a dramatic move toward science-based, joint management of area herring stocks.

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The Heiltsuk Tribal Council says a management plan for the 2016 central coast herring fishery has been reached with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett says the plan contains four key improvements including a reduction in the central coast herring harvest rate to seven per cent from 10 per cent.

Several areas, including Spiller Channel, will be closed to certain harvests in order to rebuild herring stocks, although Heiltsuk fisheries, such as those for social and ceremonial functions, will be permitted.

DFO will resurrect a previous method of forecasting herring numbers that the First Nation says is more accurate, and fisheries vessels will also carry tribal observers during the herring harvest.

The changes come less than a year after Heiltsuk members occupied DFO offices on Denny Island, near Bella Bella, to protest commercial herring roe fisheries on the central coast, despite concerns about depleted stocks.



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