Skip to content

DFO Cancels Northern Cod and Shrimp Assessments for 2023

February 9, 2023

February 9, 2023 – The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is once again failing to deliver on important assessments for key commercial stocks, announcing today it would be decommissioning one of four survey vessels, as well as cancelling the Northern Cod and Northern Shrimp assessments planned for this spring. The Union representing over 10,000 fish harvesters in the province are calling for more collaborative survey initiatives to address the government’s shortcomings and protect important fish stocks. 

“Fish harvesters are rightly concerned that DFO’s elimination of the Northern Cod and Northern Shrimp assessments this year will result in decreases or rollovers of total allowable catches. Fish harvesters and plant workers in Newfoundland and Labrador cannot bear the brunt of the federal government’s shortcomings when it comes to adequate science,” says Jason Spingle, FFAW-Unifor Secretary Treasurer. 

The Snow Crab assessment is going ahead as planned as a result of a very robust, Collaborative Post-Season Industry Snow Crab Survey. FFAW-Unifor says the federal government should engage in more collaborative efforts such as these to ensure the province’s inshore fishery won’t be left in the same vulnerable position year after year, as has been the trend in recent years. 

“DFO should proceed as planned with the Northern Cod and Northern Shrimp assessments this year, and engage in immediate consultations to expand collaborative survey opportunities for these key species,” Spingle says. “DFO could provide updates on these species with existing data.  They have information on catch, fish condition and size as well as tagging information.  Inshore harvesters and the FFAW would welcome the opportunity to sit down and discuss these data with DFO. Moreover, the Sentinel Survey provides important information for the Northern Cod stock, and there are more ways we can increase our knowledge of this stock through harvester-led initiatives,” he says. 

“We are prepared to immediately engage with the Department to address shortcomings and come up with quick solutions. Our inshore fishery is too important not to,” Spingle concludes. 

FFAW-Unifor will be meeting with federal Minister of Labour and NL Member of Parliament, Seamus O’Regan, tomorrow and plan to put this topic on the agenda.