The federal government has set this year’s Total Allowable Catch (TAC) in the cod fishery, reducing the fishery considerably.
The latest assessment showed a 40 per cent reduction in the stock, prompting concern about pressure from harvesting. The quota will be 9,500 tonnes, a reduction of 25 per cent over last year.
Nancy Bowers, a fish harvester who also serves as the mayor of Beachside, says without northern cod rural life will be a thing of the past.
The stock assessment found that natural mortality rates are high while mortality rates from fishing are low.
FFAW says Reduction Ignores Community Considerations
The FFAW is taken aback by what it calls a dramatic reduction in the quota set for the stewardship cod fishery.
President Keith Sullivan says the “modest” fishery has no impact on the trajectory of the stock and he’s surprised that DFO has set the quota at 9,500 tonnes.
Sullivan says the decision “ignores socioeconomic considerations for hundreds of communities” in the province and the thousands of people who rely on coastal resources.
He says the cod fishery already had a sustainable catch rate of three per cent of the biomass, considerably less than that of Iceland which has a catch rate of 25 per cent.
It also runs counter to the federal government’s own proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act, according to Sullivan, which he says explicitly adds the need for socioeconomic considerations in fisheries management decisions.
The province’s fishery has suffered a number of blows in recent years with continued declines in northern shrimp and snow crab and the failure of any significant rebound in cod stocks.
Reduction Doesn’t Go Far Enough: GEAC
The Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council has a different take on the cod quota announced yesterday.
The GEAC, which represents offshore fishing enterprises in Atlantic Canada, says while the 9,500 metric tonne quota set for the Northern Cod Stewardship fishery in 2J3KL is reduced 25 per cent from last year, it doesn’t go far enough.
Executive Director Kris Vascotto says in 2015 when the stock was at the same level and increasing, roughly 4,400 metric tonnes of cod was landed. Now, after a 29 per cent single-year decline in the biomass and further declines expected, Vascotto says the catch is set at more than double the 2015 quota.
President and CEO of Icewater Seafoods in Arnold’s Cove, Alberto Wareham says there is a need to focus on the long-term, be patient and go-slow in their approach to a sustainable recovery in the stocks.
He says their focus has always been on the long-term. He employs some 210 employees who are working 9-10 months of the year on cod sourced from all over the island.
FISH-NL Calls for Federal Minister to Resign
FISH-NL is calling for Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc to resign, for what it calls a ‘failure to address the current fisheries crisis.’
This following DFO’s announcement of a reduced commercial quota for the 2018 northern cod stewardship fishery.
FISH-NL points to research conducted by DFO scientists, that showed an increase in the natural mortality rates of northern cod, highlighting factors other than fishing—including starvation and predation.
FISH-NL President Ryan Cleary says only implementing a reduction in the cod quota, without specific management measurements, is ‘useless’ and ‘insulting’ to local inshore harvesters.
Cleary says it’s just one of a number of decisions Minister LeBlanc has made at the expense of this province.