Annual herring spawning run returns along the Canadian coast

Herring are returning to the Strait of Georgia for their annual spawning run this week along the east coast of Vancouver Island.

Gillnetters and seiners are prospecting in the coves and inlets along the coast of Nanaimo and north to Denman Island, looking for concentrations of the fish.

Fishermen enjoyed one of the best runs in over 30 years in 2010, with boats filling their quotas in a single day, and this year looks even better according to Paul Kershaw, the president of the Area D Gillnetters Association.

Kershaw said that he expects a 35% increase in the biomass this season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean much if the economy won’t support the sale of the products that herring are famous for.

Fishermen prize the diminutive fish for its roe, and the run has generated up to $100 million during good years, but economic woes in the primary market of Japan have caused many seiners to consider staying away from herring this season.

Last year, herring roe fetched approximately $3,000 per tonne, and the food component garnered $300 per tonne.

The price may be even lower this year unless markets rebound quickly.

via Annual herring spawning run returns along the coast.

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