Waters off eastern Vancouver Island turn turquoise as Pacific Herring spawn

Waters off eastern Vancouver Island turn turquoise as Pacific Herring spawn

Crew members smiled ear to ear as packers called out the weight of their fishing boat’s net crammed with freshly caught herring off the coast of Vancouver Island.

“It’s a lot of goo,” Samuelle Bernard, a packer onboard  Diligence, told CHEK News on Saturday.

“[It was a] very good year … lots of fish everywhere,” added Peter Thor, captain of a fishing vessel called Diligence.

Pacific Herring fishery wrapped up Saturday for Seine boats, however, gill net vessels had not met their allotted quotas and continued to fish on.

The Kershaw family has been fishing this run for nearly 50 years and told CHEK News this year’s run is one of the best they’ve ever seen.

However, not everyone is happy with the herring fishery. Over 170,000 have signed a petition calling for an end to the herring fishery, out of fears that overfishing will damage stocks irreparably.

But herring wasn’t the only thing caught Saturday. Fishermen rushed in to save a drowning eagle as well.

“I saw there was an eagle flying around, he got mobbed by the seagulls and he mustn’t have been looking where he was going because he hit one of these things, a metal piling, and he fell in the water,” said witness Owen Carson.

Carson snapped a picture of the bald eagle drowning just before it was scooped up in the nick of time near French Creek.

“I thought he was done for but then these guys fished him out,” said Carson.

Meanwhile, photographers, birds, sea lions and fishing boats all searched for their spot off Qualicum Beach Saturday to observe and capture what they could, as the herring spawn transformed the ocean waters technicolour blue from above.

“This is a once-a-year wonderful thing. The colou … is wonderful,” said Ben Doffe.

RELATED: Herring fishery begins as calls for a moratorium continue

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