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Roe on Kelp Fishery

by Phil Carson

See video

The herring fishery in Canada is primarily to supply herring roe to the Japanese market.  The commercial fishery uses huge Seine boats and skiff gill netters to harvest the herring, cut out the roe and export it to Japan.  It is a kill fishery.  Herring can spawn for up to 8 years in a row.

Trade in herring roe has been carried on by the First Nations on Canada's west coast since long before contact with Europeans.  First Peoples used sea weed and evergreen branches to harvest the roe.  This allowed the herring to live and come back the next year to spawn.  For the Heiltsuk in Bella Bella the contemporary Roe on Kelp fishery is a community activity.  The quality of their product guarantees their markets in Japan.  The problem is that the commercial fishery is impacting the health of the herring stocks and diminishing their traditional fishery.

The Roe on Kelp video documents their ongoing stuggle to protect their traditional territory and sustainable livelihood.

More info call Phil at 250 752-4469


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Phil Carson (Phil Carson)
Qualicum Beach
Member since Juillet 2010


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