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DFO accepts proposal for 2017 northern cod fishery

May 26, 2017

Yesterday afternoon, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced the groundfish management plan for northern cod. FFAW-Unifor is pleased to see that DFO accepted the proposal put forth by the Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council (NLGIDC).

The 2017 management plan will now include increased weekly landing limits, an extended season and the removal of the 12 mile limit. The season will open on June 12, 2017 and close on November 30, 2017.

FFAW-Unifor, which holds half of the seats on the board of the NLGIDC, spearheaded the 2017 proposal for the northern cod fishery that will both result in a sustainable harvest and more value returned to fish harvesters, plant workers and their coastal communities.

“The 2017 northern cod management plan builds on the success of last year and will greatly contribute towards building a prosperous groundfish fishery in the province,” says FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan. “The new management plan will allow for greater investment in the northern cod fishery by both harvesters and processing companies.”

The increased landing limits are still very conservative and will maintain the stock’s growth trajectory, as determined by DFO’s stock assessment.

“As harvesters, we now have increased access to a larger fishing area for a longer period of time, and will have access to more fish to make our investments towards a quality product worthwhile,” says Glen Newbury, harvester from Shoe Cove on the Baie Verte peninsula.

The proposal was put forward by the Council to DFO for the 2017 2J3KL cod fishery after extensive consultation on the successes of the 2016 management plan.

The NLGIDC continues to support advancements in quality and accessing high value markets for Newfoundland and Labrador groundfish. As a result of the successes of the 2016 plan, an increasing number of processors have come forward to both join the Council and express interest in making investments in the future of the NL groundfish industry. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador has also demonstrated their dedication in providing funding opportunities to those wishing to transition to groundfish in areas such as gear advancements and quality.

Federal fisheries minister, Dominic LeBlanc, has committed to FFAW that the first 115,000mt of northern cod will be allocated to the inshore owner operator fleet. Following a meeting with FFAW in April 2017, Minister LeBlanc has also committed to an annual stock assessment of northern cod beginning in 2018.

FFAW-Unifor continues to support the growth of the northern cod stock, harvesting sustainably in line with recommendations by DFO science. FFAW-Unifor also continues to ensure value from the fishery is returned to the harvesters, plant workers and coastal communities that depend on it for survival.

Read DFO’s management plan here:

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Courtney Glode