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DFO’s Update on Capelin Brings Stock Out of Critical Zone 

March 13, 2024

Today’s stock assessment update from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Science team brought welcomed news to harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador today. In line with the revised northern cod LRP in 2023, the 2J3KL capelin stock is no longer in the critical zone. While healthy and cautious zones have not yet been defined, this move is well-received by those who rely on the commercial fishery. 

“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. 

“Even a small capelin quota has a big impact for our enterprise, so we’re certainly pleased to see this news come from DFO Science today,” says Ivan Batten, fish harvester from Port de Grave who participated in the assessment process as a harvester representative. 

The capelin fishery has the potential for landed values of $20 million or more per year, however the fishery has not been prosecuted to its full extent in recent years due to processors not buying while the season is open.  FFAW-Unifor has been in communication with the provincial government to ensure that capacity will be available for harvesters this season when needed for the time-sensitive fishery. 

“Our members will be satisfied to see the changes made here today by DFO Science today and we’re hopeful for a profitable capelin fishery this year for our province,” Pretty concludes.