Public Discussion on Herring Die-Off – May 3, Digby Fire Hall

Herring died on the beaches of St. Mary’s Bay, Annapolis Basin and Tusket River-Pubnico in Nov. & Dec 2016. Much has been done to find out why. We need your voice and thoughts.

Public Meeting
Wed May 3, 7pm
Digby Fire Hall
163 1st Avenue
Moderators: Ted Leighton and Greg Turner
from Sara Erikson @ the Digby Courier:

Leighton was one of several locals involved with tracking herring deaths in late 2016 and marked his sightings on a map and through Facebook. He also noted large amounts of birds, tracking them through birding and other naturalist networks.

Leighton says it is important to consider all possible circumstances but cautions people away from saying what happened wasn’t normal. He says defining that word is a very hard thing with regards to animal behaviour.

“What is normal?” asks Leighton.
“We know there were peculiarities with the herring and we know that those with little fat content died off, but we shouldn’t jump to conclusions that this was abnormal.
“It was determined that it was largely caused by environmental factors, but that doesn’t mean humans didn’t have a hand in it,” he says. 

People began seeing dead herring wash into St. Mary’s Bay and the Annapolis Basin in Nov. 2016. The issue continued into areas such as Bear River, but eventually subsided.

Many people had theories, including fishermen who argued weather was behind the deaths, but no firm cause was determined. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans began testing the dead fish Nov. 22, 2016 and continued doing so into Dec. 2016 but found no conclusive results.
As of Jan. 2017, DFO said the deaths have diminished significantly.
While he was gathering data in December, Leighton asked members of the public “who are able to continue making surveys of beaches for herring” to continue doing so and report any results.
Now, he asks the public to bring any new ideas or theories they might have to the meeting for discussion.
“This isn’t a talk where people will be told ‘we know everything, and you know nothing,’” says Leighton.
“This will be a forum where anyone who wants to speak can speak and is encouraged to share their ideas.”