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MEDIA RELEASE: FFAW Calls on Minister to Reconsider Stock Assessment Cancellations 

March 15, 2022

March 15, 2022

ST. JOHN’S, NL – The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced today that the 2J3KL northern cod assessment is cancelled this year and the stock update for capelin will include no industry participation. The Union representing fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador is once again calling on DFO to make science a priority and to ensure management decisions are supported by current science.

DFO claims a lack of available data is justification for cancelling the entire northern cod stock assessment for 2J3KL, however many areas of the survey were completed in 2021, and other data sources are available.

“We disagree with DFO that there is not enough data to warrant a stock assessment,” says Keith Sullivan, FFAW-Unifor President. “The DFO research vessel survey was completed in much of 2J and 3K, and other sources of data like those from tag returns, the sentinel survey, and from harvesters themselves could be analyzed. Fish harvesters have a significant amount of knowledge to contribute to the assessment table– and it’s critical that we hold that space and have those regular discussions,” Sullivan says.

Members of FFAW-Unifor participate in many scientific surveys – including the Sentinel Survey for northern cod. The Sentinel survey was fully completed in 2021 and is just one of the many available sources of data available for cod in 2J3KL.

Northern cod and capelin stocks have shown positive signs of growth in the past number of years, and as a result fish harvesters expect increased opportunities for these species in 2022 despite DFO cancelling stock assessments and excluding harvester input.

“While completing surveys should also be priority number one for DFO, we believe there is enough data available to sit down with stakeholders and conduct the 2J3KL stock assessment for northern cod as planned. We hope the Minister will intervene on this decision and prove the government’s commitment to making scientifically justified management decisions,” concludes Sullivan.


For media inquiries, please contact Courtney Glode at 709-743-4445 or