Herring season has kicked off in the waters around Vancouver, British Columbia, though while local fishermen report that there are plenty of herring to be caught, apparently this year’s run of silver darlings are on the tiny side.

That means that commercial ‘seiners’,  large boats that corral entire schools of fish into their purse-like nets, are rendered useless–the tiny herring are too small for their nets!

With the seiners down for the count,  ‘gill netters’, local fishermen with comparatively smaller boats (and likewise smaller nets) can get a leg up on the herring fishery.

Tiny fish means less profits however, and these local, hard working Herring fishermen invest much time and resources in their efforts to get a taste of the silver darlings.

The bulk of West Coast herring are usually procured immediately (and with gusto) by the Japanese market, likely sent overnight to Tsukiji Market in Tokyo to be sold to the very next morning.  This is no usual week for Japan, however.  As the nation and its allies struggle to manage the fallout from the Tsunami that struck eastern Honshu last week, Japan’s economy and infrastructure has been torn and frayed.   As the sun will surely rise tomorrow, the Japanese people will also recover from their current predicament.  In the meantime, Vancouver’s herring fishermen can only hope for the best.

The socio-economic implications of the natural disaster that struck Japan are far-reaching indeed.  So far reaching in fact, that the local herring fisherman of British Columbia have lost (albeit temporarily) their primary buyer of the fish that supplies their livelihood.  Perhaps this blog will inspire some more Americans to eat domestic herring and help these fishermen out!

If you’re in a pinch for a good way to prepare herring, I’d recommend you listen to the words of wisdom spoken by the gentleman featured at the 2:00 mark in the below video clip…”salt ’em, pickle ’em, make rollmops and all kinda schtuff!”