Fishing industry hails court decision to open West Coast of Vancouver Island herring fishery

VANCOUVER, March 2, 2015 /CNW/ - "The right decision for the right reasons," says BC Seafood Alliance Executive Director Christina Burridge of Mr. Justice Manson's decision on 27 February 2015 to dismiss the application by five First Nations for an interlocutory injunction to close the West Coast of Vancouver Island roe herring fishery.

"The federal court decision," she said, "upholds the authority of the Minister to manage, conserve and develop Canada's fisheries for the benefit of all Canadians."  In his reasons for judgement, Mr. Justice Manson noted that "the Minister's fisheries powers include not only conservation and protection but also embraces commercial and economic interests, Aboriginal Rights and interests, and the public interest in sport and recreation."

The judge also found that the First Nation applicants had not demonstrated the required "real and substantial" irreparable harm to grant an injunction.   "The Minister's decision to open a modest, precautionary West Coast roe herring fishery," Burridge points out, "was based on strong science, clear policy and a conservative approach.  This judgement supports that."

She concluded, "Fishermen and their families are always willing to cut back or forego harvests when fish stocks are in trouble.  By the same token, they should benefit when stocks rebuild.  The Minister's decision was correct, science-based and in the interest of all Canadians."

The BC Seafood Alliance is an umbrella organization whose members represent about 90% of the value of wild seafood in BC, some $850 million annually.  Wild seafood in BC contributes more than either aquaculture or tidal marine fisheries to GDP, sales, employment, wages and salaries.

SOURCE Herring Industry Advisory Board (HIAB)

For further information: Christina Burridge, BC Seafood Alliance, 604.377.9213; cburridge@telus.net

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Herring Industry Advisory Board (HIAB)

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