Atlantic Halibut is an important fishery to harvesters on the south west and west coast of our province and in recent years resource abundance and distribution have increased on an extraordinary scale.
With the growing resource, participation in the fishery expanded with more than 500 harvesters now participating in the Atlantic Halibut Sustainability Program (AHSP), which was implemented to increase value, address safety concerns, and promote sustainability.
To improve scientific understanding of the Atlantic Halibut resource, FFAW-Unifor and our harvesting members have led collaborative initiatives that have garnered invaluable information on the biology and distribution patterns of halibut. Following the 2017 science assessment, Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters led the implementation of a gulf-wide post-season tagging survey throughout the Gulf of St. Lawrence.The success of these initiatives was highlighted at the bi-annual Gulf Groundfish Advisory meeting held in Moncton on March 13 and 14 of this year.
DFO Science remains very optimistic about the current and projected status of this resource, and as a result FFAW proposed a 30% increase to the total allowable catch (TAC) for 2019. This increase was supported by the majority of industry in attendance at the advisory meeting.
For 2019 fishery, the AHSP sets forth two-week fishing periods as opposed to the one-week periods of previous years, with an increased focus on quality and marketing.
Between 2013 and 2018, the landed value for Atlantic Halibut increased by 63% and price per pound has increased by 67% despite little increase in quota. In 2018, the 4R3Pn Atlantic Halibut fishery was worth approximately $4 million in landed value, a number that our Union is working to grow in order to provide maximum benefit to fish harvesters in our province.