SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Herring along the West Coast
By Ernie Koepf


February 14, 2011
Monday PM

I am writing to echo the sentiments expressed by Jennifer Castle regarding mangement of herring stocks. Her depiction of a 12% harvest of herring reflect management policies along the entire West Coast. Here in California we harvest between five and ten percent of the estimated biomass. The Pacific Herring Model drafed by the PFMC states that 'overfishing ' does not occur unless the harvest ratio exceeds 25%. All herring fisheries along the West Coast are well under that mark, by far. There are documents from studies done in the Canadian fisheries from DFO that suggest that clupea harengus (pacific herring) are part of a larger 'megapopulation' that will oportunisticly choose the spawning habitat of that years returning brood stock. This is significant; DFO tagging studies have seen tagged herring stray up to 800 kilometers, essentially switching spawn site selection by a wide margin!

We just had our best season ever in San Francisco and that came on the heels of a a large biomass in the previous year. Why? In California, the amount of fresh water from rain and then the water released by the Sierra snowpack in the summer sets up a cycle that nurtures the juveniles and decreases thier mortality. Also,the lower 48 West Coast is experiencing a resurgence of phytoplankton and zooplankton (NMFS annual trawl survey) which establishes a solid base to the food web in the ocean, upon which herring and all other swimming creatures flourish. Again, decreased natural mortality equals a large spawning biomass.

Baseless environmental cautions? I deal with them on a regular basis in California - you take the good intentions with the bad. Anti-fishing is a cottage industry down here and it is funded by foundations specifically granting monies to NGO's who wish to do this type of work. They need to educate themselves, the script is often written in advance and they are merely actors seeking an audience.

Ernie Koepf
San Francisco, CA

About: "I am a commercial herring fishermen from San Francisco Ca for the past 37 seasons. I am formerly chairmen of the Herring Advisory Committee to the DFG and Pres of the Ca Herring Fishermen's Association. In addition, I was the class rep in the class action against the Cosco Busan (oil spill in 2007)."

Received February 14, 2011 - Published February 14, 2011


Related Viewpoint:

letterOur Healthy Fisheries By Jennifer Castle

Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:

letter Webmail Your Opinion Letter to the Editor



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.

SitNews ©2011
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska