The largest of Canada’s purse-seine herring fisheries, which is located in the Bay of Fundy has just been awarded sustainability certification from the Marine Stewardship Council. You may have seen the blue MSC badge on packages of frozen seafood, and now fish from the 4VWX (Scotia-Fundy) fishing sector have met these tight criteria.
Atlantic herring are some of the most abundant fish in the ocean, and a lynch-pin in fisheries, being used for human food, bait, and industrial uses. However herring at least historically, can be cyclical regardless of fishing pressure. In my opinion it’s all the more reason to fish for them sustainably. They are showing that large fisheries, in this case about 50,000 metric tons yearly, can also be well-managed. This also does not happen overnight, as one of Canada’s oldest fisheries, 4VWX herring have been fished responsibly for a long time.
“As one of the longest-running commercial fisheries in Canada the herring fishery and associated processing companies have demonstrated the ability to sustain the resource. The MSC certification now allows us to clearly signal the fishery’s sustainability to global markets.”
— Roger Stirling, president of Seafood Producers Association of Nova Scotia
This is a night-time operation using purse-seines to capture the tight swimming schools of herring. They are then quickly brought to shore for processing. The end products for the 4VWX herring are sold worldwide and include frozen fillets, smoked kippers, and canned fish products. Herring roe is exported to Japan as a delicacy, but much of the catch will also be used for lobster bait. Personally, I’ve used so much herring in my life to catch lobsters that I cannot eat one without thinking it is only bait…
MSC certification is not just good news for the herring products it is great news for the communities involved in the herring fishery. A well-maintained herring fishery keeps the boats fishing, keeps the men fishing and keeps the shore-side part of the industry hiring workers that may otherwise have to move to find work. This is a good example of the multiplier effect a well-run fishery can have on a local economy. Pardon the cliche, but a rising tide floats all boats.
Source: Undercurrent news