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Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Herring Gillnet Fishery Enters MSC Assessment

04 September 2014

CANADA - The Gulf Nova Scotia Herring Federation, comprised of incorporated inshore fish harvester organisations based in Gulf Nova Scotia, southwestern Cape Breton and eastern Prince Edward Island, has entered a portion of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence fall herring gillnet fishery (Clupea harengus), into assessment against the global, science-based Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

The herring gillnet fishery under assessment is area 16F in the NAFP zone 4T, which is the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. The fishery operates seasonally and is concentrated in the fall herring spawning season.

The 4T herring fishery is managed by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in the Gulf region. Current management strategies include quota allocations, seasonal and fishing area closures as well as mechanisms for fisheries capacity control in addition to monitoring and regulation of fishing activities.

A total of 408 commercial licenses were issued to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia-based fish harvesters in area 16F in 2013, including several aboriginal communities. The products from the fishery include herring roe sold to markets in Japan and fillets sold fresh and frozen in domestic and international markets.

Collaborative efforts demonstrated

Speaking on behalf of Greg Egilsson, chairman of the Gulf Nova Scotia Herring Federation, Ron Heighton, president of the Northumberland Fisherman's Association, said: “The Gulf of St. Lawrence fall herring gillnet fishery incorporates the collaborative efforts of harvesters and the DFO to increase the sustainability of this fishery and potential MSC certification will enable us to demonstrate these efforts on a global level.”

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