Vancouver—A federal court judge has sided with the Council of the Haida Nations and imposed an injunction on the commercial fishing of herring in Haida Gwaii waters until the end of the 2015 roe herring fishery season.
“The Haida people have won an important decision that will help repair the herring stocks in these waters,” said Kim Olsen, President of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union-Unifor. “The Department of Fisheries and Oceans had acted carelessly by opening the season in 2015, so we’re pleased that the health of the herring stocks has prevailed with this ruling.”
Haida representatives have been imploring the government to halt herring fishing in the area because of concerns over low herring stocks. The UFAWU-Unifor supports the Haida request and has urged commercial fishers to avoid using Haida Gwaii waters for the 2015 commercial herring fishing season. Commercial fishers and First Nations voluntarily imposed a moratorium on fishing herring in this area in 2014 but the government elected to open the commercial fishery regardless in 2015.
The judge also criticized the government for its lack of consultation with the Haida Council.
“The DFO must take a long-term view of our renewable fisheries resources, and take action to keep commercial fishing sustainable,” said Olsen. “Listening to the people who fish these waters is central to any plan to manage these resources for future generations.”
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.