On November 13, 2023, the Pacific Marine Conservation Caucus (MCC) submitted the following letter in response to the draft 2022/2023 Pacific herring Food & Bait and Special Use (FB/SU) commercial fishery plans.
In this submission, we reiterate our concern regarding the ongoing loss of herring spawning in the southern Strait of Georgia, with a specific concern about the status of spawning in Area 17. There is a clear need to protect any herring returning to Area 17 from direct human impacts. We therefore request that all currently open subareas of Area 17 be closed to commercial fishing for the upcoming year.
Furthermore, in light of the continued lack of recovery of herring spawning throughout much of the Strait of Georgia, and the higher level of uncertainty inherent in the Fish & Bait fishery, we request that the 2023/2024 Fish & Bait quota allocation be capped at 9% of the total Strait of Georgia quota.
The letter also includes observations on the temporal and spatial trends in herring spawner abundance in Strait of Georgia including spawning extent and spawn diversity.
Finally, we reiterate our long-standing recommendation to implement the HS30-60_HR10 management option, which would result in maximum harvest rate of 7% for the upcoming fishing season.