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 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, including the Ocean Achiever.
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 it 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 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 the injured individuals were transported to hospital.
A may-day call from a fishing vessel sinking by the bow brought the Delta Lifeboat into action again. The crew was alongside the distressed vessel in minutes where the situation was stabilized.
Officials with the Delta Lifeboat say the incidents proved the value of the Canadian Lifeboat Institution 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 the 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.
Once the fishery came to an end, the Delta Lifeboat returned to its station in Ladner Harbour on March 12.