NL-GIDC Proposal for 2019 Northern Cod Fishery
Today, the Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council (NL-GIDC) submitted the proposal for the 2J3KL northern cod fishery for the 2019 fishing season.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) science branch confirmed that the northern cod stock continues to grow, with the lowest fish harvesting rates in history.
Fish harvesters experienced an unnecessarily high 25 per cent cut in the 2018 fishery as a result of the 2017 assessment. Unsurprising to fish harvesters, the decline put forward by DFO Science last year turned out to be inaccurate. The assessment for 2018, which re-evaluated cod status last year, now refutes the overly pessimistic outlook portrayed in the 2017 assessment.
The 2J3KL cod stock is the third largest stock in the world. The assessment update indicated that fishing mortality (F) remains very low, averaging 0.02 over the past five years.
As a result of this, the NL-GIDC has proposed a 30% increase to fisheries removals, for total removals of 17,936t. Based on scientific calculations, there is virtually no difference in spawning stock biomass growth with this proposed increase.
Northern cod, if managed responsibly and in collaboration with industry, has the potential to provide significant opportunity for a sustainable fishery. Modest increases in harvest rates can simultaneously help build capacity on land without having any significant impact on the growth of the stock.
This proposal, along with other industry proposals, will be reviewed at Thursday’s 2+3KLMNO Groundfish Advisory Committee meeting. The full NLGIDC proposal is available here.