For Immediate Release
November 10, 2017
FFAW-Unifor Calls on DFO to Reverse Decision to Open 3Ps Cod Fishery to Offshore Draggers
St. John’s – In a decision released late Friday afternoon, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced that the vulnerable 3Ps cod fishery would be opened to the offshore sector as of Saturday, November 11. FFAW-Unifor has consistently raised concerns that the stock assessment for 3Ps cod was overly optimistic and that the stock is too vulnerable to allow offshore draggers to fish on spawning and pre-spawning aggregations. A recent Stock Assessment Report for 3Ps cod indicates the stock will likely fall to the critical zone within three years.
“This stock will be at its most vulnerable in the coming months. Allowing the offshore to begin fishing on spawning aggregations is not only irresponsible, it flies in the face of the sustainability and conservation objectives of the federal government,” said Keith Sullivan, President of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor).
Quotas for 3Ps cod were cut significantly this year as a result of the decreased health of the stock. According to past practice, when the quota is set below the 10,000 ton threshold, as it was this year, offshore trawlers are removed from the fishery. This was the case in 1997 when the fishery re-opened in the area. FFAW-Unifor has called for the same standard to be applied.
In May, MSC certificate holders for the offshore 3Ps cod fishery announced that they would be voluntarily suspending their certificate, essentially agreeing that the 3Ps cod stock is in trouble and should not subjected to current offshore fishing methods. FFAW-Unifor had been objecting to MSC certification of the stock since 2014.
“In recent years, south coast harvesters have consistently said this stock is suffering,” continued Sullivan. “We are calling on the federal government to immediately reverse this decision and put the best interests of the stock ahead of the interests of corporate draggers.”
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