DFO announced today that the stewardship cod fishery will not be extended despite having quota remaining.
“It is unacceptable that fish is being left in the water despite this year’s quota already being ultraconservative. Without a doubt, DFO should extend the fishery until the entire TAC has been landed,” said FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan.
FFAW-Unifor has requested that DFO reopen the fishery next week to allow harvesters the time to complete this year’s fishery. With the decline of shellfish species in our province, economic opportunities for fish harvesters are increasingly limited.
“To deny harvesters the ability to land the remaining quota for the northern cod fishery is unnecessary. This year’s quota was exceptionally low, and removals by the stewardship fishery have been shown to have no impact on the overall stock trajectory,” added Sullivan.
Despite this, DFO is permitting up to an anticipated 400,000 pounds to remain uncaught.
The 2018 northern cod fishery has been successful for inshore harvesters in our province. Northern cod landings came in at a much higher rate than anticipated, which is a very good indicator for the health of the stock. This high abundance of cod actually led to DFO restricting the stewardship fishery at times throughout this season. All bait fisheries this year including squid and capelin were immensely successful and are also positive signs for the northern cod stock.
“As northern cod rebuilds, very modest increases in the stewardship fishery can simultaneously build capacity on land and in markets without having any significant impact on the trajectory of the stock. As it stands, this management plan is leaving the inshore harvesters and coastal communities shut out of the fishery of the future,” concluded Sullivan.