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Science & Research

FFAW-Unifor Fisheries Science

A vibrant, profitable, and sustainable fishery is vital to the survival of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.   If fish resources are to provide for the long-term viability of fish harvesters, processing workers, and the communities in which they live, the management responsibilities of commercial species must be shared.

How it began

We believe that the exclusion of fish harvesters’ knowledge and experience from the assessment and management of commercial species played a role in stock declines of the past.  We believe that if past mistakes are to not be repeated, fish harvesters must be included as equal partners in all aspects of stock assessment and fisheries management.

FFAW-Unifor's Fisheries Science Program began in 1995 with Cod Sentinel. Before the moratorium, there was a wide gap between fish harvesters' observations and fisheries science. The Cod Sentinel program began, in part, to bridge the gap between fish harvesters and scientists.

Today's fisheries science

In recent years we have become involved in the science of almost all commercial species.  As we build data on each commercial species, fish harvester involvement has also increased.  True partnerships will develop as fish harvesters not only collect data, but also contribute to the analysis and interpretation of data.

To date, we have developed, implemented, and managed over 50 individual projects.

Northern Cod Fisheries Improvement Project

FFAW-Unifor is working with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) on the northern cod (NAFO Divisions 2J3KL) stewardship fishery operating in the inshore. The FIP aims to implement improvement measures that will ensure a supply of certified sustainable seafood once the stock has grown to levels that support a full commercial fishery. 

The FIP is a multi-step, multi-stakeholder initiative aiming to improve fishing practices and management to help the northern cod fishery rebuild and meet or exceed the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for sustainable fisheries.

You can read more about the FIP process here.