When reflecting on the good old days when herring was plentiful, it’s a useful measure to determine which time period is your starting point. The Vancouver Sun reports that current data used for fisheries management dates back 60-80 years, giving the Department of Fisheries and Oceans a picture of what a healthy stock looked like then. This means that these measures were started at a time when the commercial herring fishing industry was already well underway and so do not accurately reflect naturally healthy stocks.
Fish bone samples collected from First Nations archeological sites along the Pacific Coast of North America show a much greater herring abundance over the past 2,500 years. This gives a whole new meaning to our current idea of healthy stocks and making it harder to assess the long term impact of climate change, overfishing and predators.
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