Herring fishery needs careful monitoring after sustainable certification, WWF-Canada says

Fundy herring will need support to maintain Marine Stewardship Council standard

HALIFAX, Dec. 7, 2016 /CNW/ - The Bay of Fundy herring fishery will need continued support to ensure the fishery remains sustainable, WWF-Canada says, despite last week's announcement that it has been granted the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for meeting global standards for sustainability.

WWF-Canada was pleased to see that the MSC certification for Bay of Fundy herring includes nine strong recommendations, and encourages action on them to ensure the fishery continues to improve. Those recommendations, however, are non-binding to the certification.

The Bay of Fundy herring fishery, known as 4VWX, has been a stock of concern for more than a decade, and has been managed under a Fisheries and Oceans Canada Rebuilding Plan since 2013. Herring are a key food source for many commercial species such as cod, swordfish and bluefin tuna, as well as sharks, marine mammals and seabirds.

Key recommendations include:

  • Conducting tagging studies to collect better information on the stock.
  • Monitoring catches of Atlantic mackerel, another forage species in critical condition, by date and location.
  • Collecting more robust data on the scale of the bait and recreational fishery of herring.
  • Ensuring that comprehensive ecosystem goals are established, and a strategy is developed to address such ecosystem requirements as predator needs.
  • Updating the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan.

Aurelie Cosandey-Godin, senior oceans specialist, said:
"Although Bay of Fundy herring has received its MSC certification, there is still work to do on the stock in order for it to reach its sustainability milestones within the next five years. WWF-Canada will monitor the situation with this herring fishery as it meets the conditions and recommendations of its certification. Forage-fish fisheries need careful management that takes into account the needs of predators, such as fish, whales and seabirds, to ensure there is enough food for them to eat as well."

The state of forage fisheries:
In July 2016, WWF-Canada's Food For All report raised the alarm over a lack of information about Canadian forage-fish stocks, and the impact that poorly managed forage fisheries can have on predators. Three-quarters of forage-fish fisheries in Canada are being managed without adequate information, and three fisheries in Atlantic Canada are in critical condition. Currently, except for new fisheries, commercially fished forage species are not granted any special status for management.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more info visit wwf.ca

SOURCE WWF-Canada

For further information: Catharine Tunnacliffe, communications specialist, ctunnacliffe@wwfcanada.org, +1 647 268 9686

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