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Garnish Lions Club - Wednesday 6pm

January 9, 2024

Attention Fortune Bay harvesters! Please attend the Lions Club at 6pm in Garnish on Wednesday, January 10th. 

Coordinator April Wiseman, Fisheries Scientist, Abe Solberg and FFAW Science Tech will be in attendance.

The south coast of Newfoundland has undergone significant ecosystem changes since the 1980s. The Fortune Bay and Bay D’Espoir region has several important commercial fisheries including those for cod, snow crab, and lobster. In recent years, there has also been an increase in observations of Atlantic halibut, and the region is expected to become a productive halibut area. Despite changes in the commercial fishery, little is understood about how the structure and functions (e.g., predator-prey relationships) of the ecosystem have changed, most notably due to the lack of data on both forage fish and seals. 

Diet studies of generalist feeders – including seabirds and cod – have be used to show changes in the relative abundance of different prey.  As an example, cod diets typically show an increase in capelin prey during the capelin spawning season. 

Documenting changes in predators and their prey both within years and across decades is important because understanding ecosystem changes that affect the productivity of commercial stocks should be considered in fisheries management.  By mapping fish harvesters’ knowledge of changing predator prey dynamics, we aim to evaluate how ecosystem structure functions-have changed, as well as the changes in the distribution and timing of key species over the past three decades, and how these observations can be integrated into fisheries management in the region.

FFAW Staff will be travelling to the south coast to document fish harvesters’ observations and knowledge of changing marine ecosystems the week of January 8th, 2024. If you are interested in participating, please contact April Wiseman at 709-689-7844 or at Participants will be provided with an honorarium for their contributions.