March is herring time when the fishing fleet gathers in the Strait of Georgia for the roe herring fishery.
Once again, the ‘Delta Lifeboat’ with her all-volunteer crew onboard sailed from Ladner Harbour to join the fleet in the fishing grounds off the east coast of Vancouver Island between Nanaimo and Comox. Up to 12 Delta-based fish boats take part in this fishery.
This year’s quota of 8,000 tons was down from the 18,000 tons quota for 2019. Close to 90,000 tons of herring were estimated to be in the area during the fishery.
The Delta Lifeboat patrolled and anchored with the fleet out on the grounds where they could respond immediately to any distress calls. During the four days of concentrated fishing, which went on day and night, the lifeboat crew responded to two separate requests for medivac of two fishers from different boats, both with serious hand injuries. The Delta Lifeboat crew provided first aid on-route to Comox where they were transported to the Comox hospital.
A may-day call from a fishing vessel sinking by the bow brought the Delta Lifeboat into action again. They were alongside the distressed vessel in minutes where the situation was stabilized.
These incidents proved the value of the Canadian Lifeboat Institution (CLI) having one of its lifeboats at sea along with the fishing fleet, monitoring radios and maintaining visual watch around the clock rather than being tied up in harbour waiting for a call. In all three of these incidents, the lifeboat was on-scene in under five minutes. Grateful acknowledgement of the Delta Lifeboat crew’s efforts was expressed by Worksafe BC, The Canadian fishing Company and the Canadian Coast Guard.
With the fishery coming to the end, the Delta Lifeboat returned to its station in Ladner Harbour at 15:00 on March 12th.
To all the lifeboat crew ‘BZ’ (Bravo Zulu – a naval term for Well Done).