The Heiltsuk Tribal Council is satisfied following what it is calling a dramatic move towards science-based, joint management of the central coast herring stocks.
This week they announced a new management plan they reached with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The plan contains four key improvements including a reduction in the central coast herring harvest rate to seven per cent from 10 per cent.
Some areas, including Spiller Channel, will be closed to certain harvests while herring stocks are rebuilt. The Heiltsuk Nation will still have rights to herring for social and ceremonial functions. (Poster Creds: Heiltsuk First Nation 2015).
Under the new management plan the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will resume a previous method of forecasting herring stocks and tribal observers will be onboard fisheries vessels as observers.
Last spring Heiltsuk Nation members occupied DFO offices on Denny Island, near Bella Bella, to protest commercial herring roe fisheries on the central coast. The Heiltsuk First Nations were very concerned the DFO was allowing over fishing of the fragile stock.