People here follow the lunar cycle closely, and in Heiltsuk culture ‘when the moon tips over’ marks the beginning of one of the greatest and rarely observed natural events on the planet. This seasonal spawning event is so important, so vital and culturally revered, it signals the beginning of the traditional Heiltsuk New Year.
The tides, bird and mammal life, and air and water temperature indicate much about when the herring spawn will begin.
As the longer days of spring loosen winter’s grip, the people of Bella Bella, Klemtu, Gitxaala and other traditional herring-spawning territories on the north coast focus on what locals call ‘herring weather’.
The Heiltsuk Nation is fortunate to have some of the most productive herring spawning grounds in its territory and has been at the forefront of the conservation battles to protect this endangered foundation fish species.
The following organizations have supported this project: