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DFO Disappointment Continues: 2J3KLPs Capelin Management Plan Not Reflective of Stock Health

June 5, 2024

June 5, 2024

Yesterday afternoon, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) released their management plant for the 2024 2J3KLPs capelin fishery, announcing a rollover in the management plan from previous years. This decision is contrary to DFO’s science as well as contrary to industry advisories. 

“Fish harvesters are incredibly disappointed that despite capelin coming out of the critical zone with cod, the amount harvesters are permitted to harvest has not changed,” says FFAW-Unifor Secretary Treasurer Jason Spingle. “This is not the decision we were expecting, and it is not in line with the Department’s own science this year,” Spingle says. 

In March, DFO announced that, in line with the revised northern cod LRP in 2023, the 2J3KLPs capelin stock is no longer in the critical zone. This move was well-received by commercial harvesters at the time, who expected the harvest amounts to be correspondingly increased. 

Then later this spring, harvesters and processor representatives walked out of the advisory meeting after extremist ENGOs were given a seat at the advisory table. Harvesters and processors, who both hold true stakeholder status in the advisory processes, agreed that there is no place for these types of organizations at the table. 

“The small capelin fishery is important for our coastal communities both in terms of the additional income it provides for fish harvesters who can diversify their business model, and also for plant workers who need those additional days of work during the fishing season,” explains Greg Pretty, FFAW-Unifor President. “It’s abundantly clear that our fears are coming true, and extremist environmental groups are now directly influencing federal fisheries management decisions,” Pretty warns. 

“It makes absolutely no sense that we could have such a positive science update from DFO just a few months ago, only to find out yesterday afternoon that we are not seeing any of that positivity reflected in the management decision,” says Trevor Jones, 3K harvester. “DFO is failing to manage fisheries based on actual science and their responsibility to support coastal economic sustainability,” Jones says. 

“Time after time, Minister Lebouthillier and the Liberal Caucus continue to fail the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Today’s decision is unacceptable, and we will be looking to for answers,” concludes Pretty.