Hundreds of lifeless herring dumped off coast of Vancouver Island, conservationists say

A conservation group that is lengthy opposed the B.C. herring fishery says it suspects a fishing vessel has dumped a load of the small fish in Deep Bay, close to Bowser on Vancouver Island.

Members of the Hornby Island Conservancy say they received an nameless tip on Friday {that a} business fishing vessel had dumped its load of netted herring after a packing vessel had refused its catch.

The conservationists say they despatched a diver down to collect video footage and they’re now sharing photographs of lifeless fish, which seem like herring, littering the ocean ground.

Grant Scott, who works with the conservation group, estimates the dump may embody as many as 45,000 fish, relying on how massive the fishing vessel was that allegedly dumped the load.

However regardless of the loss, he says, it is a disgrace.

WATCH | Conservationists dive off coast of Vancouver Island, discover 1000’s of lifeless herring

Conservancy Hornby Island members say as many as 45,000 fish have been dumped by a fishing vessel in Deep Bay, close to Bowser, B.C. 3:26

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“These fish could have gone out and spawned six, seven or eight times more. Every herring female spawns 20,000 eggs. That’s the sadness to us, is that there’s a loss of those potential fish in the future. It’s a waste,” stated Scott.

The Division of Fisheries and Oceans stated it is conscious of the alleged dumping incident in Deep Bay and fishery officers are investigating as business fishers are prohibited from dumping any catch from a vessel.

“DFO is committed to managing Pacific herring fisheries to ensure that there are enough herring to spawn and sustain the stock into the future and support the species’ role in the ecosystem,” the division stated in an announcement.

Scott believes DFO will be checking video from dock cameras to attempt to decide which vessel or vessels could have been concerned within the alleged fish dump.

Fishing boats working the Strait of Georgia herring fishery in 2018. (CHEK Information)

The spring herring fishery has lengthy been a supply of rigidity with issues about over-fishing straining already fragile herring shares in B.C. and different elements of Canada.

Final week there was a renewed name for a herring fishery moratorium by a coalition of First Nations leaders, the Tla’amin and WSANEC Management Council, backed by 53 municipalities, MP Gord Johns and 160,000 petitioners.

Conservationists say DFO estimates present the Pacific herring inhabitants dwindling to 60 per cent of earlier ranges, between 2016 and 2020.

The Strait of Georgia is the solely zone off B.C. shores proper now capable of help a business herring roe fishery, based on DFO.

In spring, grownup herring collect in such mass numbers to spawn on B.C.’s coastal shores that the males’ milt turns the water mild inexperienced. Females lay their sticky eggs on seaweed and tough rocks. The small fish are meals for every thing from sea birds to salmon — and a few orcas, marine mammals and whales.

Herring merchandise similar to roe are bought in Japan, the place it is thought-about a delicacy, and in addition in some smaller markets in China and the U.S.