Collaborative Solutions for Haida Gwaii Herring Fisheries
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Evgeny Pakhomov, Earth, Ocean, Atmospheric Sciences; Dr. Tony J. Pitcher, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, UBC; and Dr. Mimi E. Lam, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, UBC
Partner(s): Mr. Russ Jones, Director, Haida Oceans Technical Team, Council of the Haida Nation
Herring feed fish, birds and whales in marine ecosystems and also support BC commercial roe fisheries, including gillnet, seine, and spawn-on-kelp. Moreover, herring have cultural value for First Nations, particularly traditional spawn-on-kelp for food and trade. Haida Gwaii and Central Coast herring fisheries, closed in major fishing areas since 2005 and 2008, respectively, were re-opened in 2014 by the Minister of Fisheries. Local communities contested this decision, with serious conflict only narrowly averted. Our NSERC Strategic Project preliminary results indicate that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) thresholds to open herring fisheries may be too low to support herring recovery and its provisionary role in marine ecosystems. Partnering with the Council of Haida Nation, we will complement our ecosystem modelling of herring management scenarios with participatory research exploring the integration of Haida values and ethics with scientific principles. This interdisciplinary project will facilitate collaborative governance solutions for Haida Gwaii herring fisheries.