The cod stocks of 3Ps have improved since 2015, but that’s a trend that isn’t expected to last.
The cod stocks in contentious area 3Ps are projected to hit critical levels by 2020, according to Stock Assessment Biologist Karen Dwyer. 3Ps covers the southern area from Cape St. Mary’s to Burgeo and out over the St. Pierre Bank. Dwyer presented studies on the cod stock at DFO today.
She says there are many possible reasons for the struggling stocks. Fishing is one of them, but both Canadian and French harvesters are landing far below the total allowable catch even now.
Another is climate. Warmer oceans are causing problems for plankton, the food of young cod, resulting in smaller, weaker fish. The next step is for fisheries management to analyze the data and consult with industry stakeholders on what action is to be taken.
FFAW Calls for Ban on Offshore Draggers
The FFAW is calling for a ban on offshore draggers in the wake of today’s cod assessment.
President Keith Sullivan says the offshore fleet continues to operate when fish are gathering to spawn, and are threatening the recovery of the stock.
The industry had been gearing up for a return to groundfish in the wake of the collapse of crab and shrimp stocks.
Sullivan says 3Ps cod is trending differently than other stocks, with harvesters suffering cuts of over 50 per cent to their quotas over the last two years.
Sullivan says the stocks in 3Ps are in a vulnerable state and the federal government must protect the resource and adjacent communities by banning offshore draggers from fishing in the area.