Herring Time 2019

Two years ago to the day I did a post about the herring fishery. If you are interested you can find it here. https://wordsfromanneli.com/2017/03/08/herring-time/

At that time a fisherman lost his life working in this dangerous job.

However, the fishery goes on. The pressure is on the fishermen to set their nets and catch what they can in the short time allowed.

As seiners from all along the coast of BC gather to await the herring opening, the wharf at Comox, on Vancouver Island, is congested at this time of year. You can see the seiners in the center of the photo above in the government fish wharf, and the toothpick-like masts of the sailboats on the far right, tucked away in their private marina.

How do these boats not get tangled!?

At one time the herring fishery was lucrative, but see, below, the problem facing the herring fishermen now.

These are a few of the sea lions left after a herring season three years ago. Since then the number of sea lions has exploded to the point where the fishermen lose nets repeatedly from dozens of these giants tearing through them to get at the herring in the seine nets.

Every animal needs to eat, but the fishermen are now finding it difficult to make a living when all they seem to do is feed sea lions and pay for very expensive nets. The staggering number of sea lions that have moved in to take up permanent residence on the coast of Vancouver Island has become an overwhelming problem for the fishermen.

Solutions are hard find, as the remedies are all controversial.

31 thoughts on “Herring Time 2019

    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I think they got a taste of plenty of food in a welcoming environment (maybe warmer water, I don’t know) and they are now staying all winter rather than bothering to go home to California. They used to only be up here at herring time and into the summer. Now they are year-round residents.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Trouble is that most of these sea lions have moved up here from farther down the coast. They have relocated themselves to a better place and I think it’s going to be a case of “the cat came back” if they are relocated to their California origins.

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  1. Jill Weatherholt

    “Solutions are hard find, as the remedies are all controversial.” So true, Anneli. Thank you for bringing attention to this matter. I feel for the fishermen…it’s their livelihood.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Yes, it’s their livelihood and what many people don’t think about is that if they want to eat fish, they have to support their fishermen. Just like farming – we need the grain, and of course the farmers shouldn’t work for nothing to provide it for us.

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  2. Jennie

    The image of the boats really does look like tangled toothpicks. What has caused the sea lion population to explode? This must be a very controversial issue. Lovely photos, Anneli.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      We used to have a small resident population of sea lions, but the California sea lions, who used to only visit for the summer feeding, have been staying and those who went back home in the fall have told all their friends and many have now taken up permanent residence here. The balance has been upset.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I agree with you, Diane. It’s awful to even think it, as I don’t like to see any animals hurt, but it is getting out of control. Seems to happen in many aspects of nature now.

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