How The Loss Of A Little Fish Like Herring Has Big Impacts On More Than Just Our Oceans

Source: CBC Radio

Photo: US Government Work/Wikimedia Commons 

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For the first time in his 30-year career, a Nova Scotia fisherman sat out herring season. He did it because he’s scared for the fish’s survival.

“There used to be schools miles long, and now there’s rarely schools more than a few hundred yards long,” Greg Egilsson, chairman of the Gulf Nova Scotia Herring Federation, told The Current.

“It’s shrunk quite a bit. It’s alarming. It’s discouraging … It’s like we’re trying to catch the last one.”

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans considers most of the herring stock in Atlantic waters to be in the critical or cautious zone.

Boris Worm, a marine conservation biology professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, says there aren’t specific numbers to measure herring populations because the assessment methodology has changed so frequently over the last several years.

But he said worries like Egilsson’s are shared among scientists, industry professionals and conservationists alike.

“The sustainability concerns are just getting more pressing every year and maybe we’ve reached the thresholds where we really have to reconsider what we’re doing with these fish.”

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Photo: US Government Work/Wikimedia Commons

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