Mike Morrell reports on this year’s herring run

DFO HERRING BULLETIN: Monday March 5, 2018

This report by Mike Morrell was originally posted
on the Denman Conservancy Association  Facebook page on March 6, 2018.

The most recent sonar estimate for herring in Area 14 (Oyster Bay – Northwest Bay near Nanoose) is 75,000 tons. Of the total, 50k are south of us between Nile Cr and Northwest Bay, and the balance are around Denman and Hornby.

Monday morning, assessment vessels estimated 5,000 tons off NE Denman. A test set found a 10.3% roe yield in a sample of this group, indicating that their eggs are mature and a spawn may occur any time.

Sunday there was a large body of fish estimated at 20,000 tons in the southern part of Lambert Channel; preliminary results of tests of these fish indicated that roe was not yet mature (i.e. spawning some days away). Monday morning’s sonar assessments in Baynes Sound found only about 400 tons. Assessments in recent days have estimated around 4,000 tons east and south of Hornby.

The gillnet fishery continued Monday on a large spawn covering most of the Vancouver Island shoreline from Nile Creek to Northwest Bay. As of Monday morning the gillnet catch was estimated at 7,700 tons of the 11,000 ton gillnet quota. One gillnet crewman I spoke with Monday afternoon at French Creek Marina said that his boat had filled their individual quota, and a second crew said they were close.

Monday morning I counted 42 seiners off Nile Creek, about 13km south of Boyle Point. Apparently they were hoping for an opening there, but I continued south and don’t know whether they fished. Through Sunday the seines had not filled much of their 10,800 ton quota. They are waiting for the right combination of quantity of fish and roe quality in an area that is fishable with their gear.

Mike Morrell for DCA