Heiltsuk Vow to Disrupt Central Coast Fisheries Reopening

Thursday, April 3, 2014

By Kristian Selcher for The Tyee

With commercial herring roe fisheries on B.C.'s central coast set to reopen at any moment, tension is rising between First Nations and the government, while fishermen remain caught in the middle.

In Bella Bella, the Heiltsuk Nation is preparing to block any attempts to catch herring by 20 commercial fishing vessels currently anchored in Shearwater, where they wait for fish to begin spawning.

The central coast has been closed to commercial herring fisheries since 2006, when the stock fell below levels acceptable to the government. While officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada claim herring levels have stabilized, the Heiltsuk maintain that levels are still too low. If commercial fishing returns in the area, the nation fears the entire stock could collapse...

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