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Groundfish Council Submits Proposal for 2018 Northern Cod Fishery

April 17, 2018

The Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council (NL-GIDC) submitted their proposal to DFO this week for the 2018 2J3KL northern cod fishery.

The NL-GIDC took into account harvester consultation advice along with other industry stakeholder positions as well as the most recent stock assessment information. The NL-GIDC’s overarching objective to rebuilding the northern cod stock is to the benefit of industry stakeholders as well as coastal communities in Newfoundland and Labrador. Taking into account the most recent stock assessment, which showed a fluctuation in the northern cod biomass, the NL-GIDC proposal is modest and responsible with a reduction in weeks fished compared to last year’s stewardship fishery. This is consistent with the NL-GIDC’s low harvest rate approach.

Your Union held meetings across the province over the past few months to consult harvesters on what the inshore fleet would like to see in the upcoming northern cod fishery. We brought this information back to the NL-GIDC which took precedence in developing the proposal for the 2018 northern cod fishery. The last few years marked significant improvements to the stewardship cod fishery, and overall, harvesters were pleased with the 2017 cod fishery. Great strides were made in quality, but we must continue to improve the value for harvesters.

In 2016 and 2017, DFO accepted the NL-GIDC’s proposals and we are hopeful the Department will carefully consider this year’s proposal for the management of the 2J3KL northern cod fishery.

Specific requests put forth in this proposal include:

  • Season of August 12 to November 10 (an 8 week reduction from the 21 week season in 2017)
  • Weekly trip limit approach to continue with a 20% reduction in weekly limits in October and November
  • Harvesters who refrain from fishing during the August 11-September 30 period will be permitted to fish at 2 times the agreed weekly limits during the October-November period. The start period for this 2 times weekly limit option will be September 30
Month Weekly Limit Round Weight (lbs)
  3KL 2J
August 2,000 4,000
September 3,000 4,000
October 4,000 4,000
November 4,000 4,000

Other measures include:

  • DFO commit to increased investigation on mortality of cod from predation by seal species such as harp and grey seals
  • Reduce the recreational fishery to reflect latest scientific advice
  • Implement a mechanism to track removals from the recreational fishery and ensure there is sufficient monitoring to ensure a high degree of compliance