Skip to content

DFO Comments on Squid Contradicts Approach to Mackerel Fishery

September 10, 2019

St. John’s, NL – Comments made by a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) scientist in the media this week confirming the abundance of squid surrounding the province this season has frustrated many fish harvesters who feel the Department is contradicting itself by acknowledging abundance in the squid fishery while ignoring it in the mackerel fishery.

“There is no doubt that squid is arriving in record abundance this season, but it is frustrating for us to hear acknowledgement of harvesters’ observations of squid while the Department refuses to acknowledge and further investigate observed abundance of mackerel,” said Keith Sullivan, President of FFAW-Unifor. “Mackerel harvesters are losing out on an opportunity to harvest an abundant mackerel stock this season despite repeatedly raising concerns that DFO is underestimating the biomass of the stock.”

Unlike other commercial fisheries, DFO is relying on observations of the abundance of squid as there is no science or stock assessment of the species.

In recent years, harvesters have put forward their observations at DFO’s mackerel stock assessment and advisory meetings. These observations have been repeatedly ignored in management decisions. As a result, harvesters collected small mackerel samples this year in an effort to provide scientific evidence to support their observations that mackerel are spawning on the northeast coast of the province.

“Fish harvesters are investing their own time and resources in mackerel science to support their calls for a new management regime for this fishery. It’s time for DFO to acknowledge the gaps in their own assessment of the stock and listen to harvesters, who spend their lives on the water and have seen first-hand the abundance of this stock,” continued Sullivan. “At the very least, DFO should provide additional quota this season so that harvesters can collect mackerel samples in the fall of the year, as this is the ideal time to do this work.”


For media inquiries, please contact:

Courtney Glode
FFAW-Unifor Communications