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February 16, 2024

ST. JOHN’S, NL – This month, FFAW-Unifor’s Northern Cod (2J3KL) Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) was awarded a Grade A by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) – an internationally recognized seafood sustainability grading system.

An ‘A’ progress rating is reserved for comprehensive FIPs that have documented improvements in fishing practices or fisheries management within the last 12 months. FFAW’s Northern Cod FIP demonstrates the commitment to sustainable fishing with documented improvements to cod habitats with, for example, over 16,000 pounds of lost gear removed from the Punch Bowl cod fishing ground in Labrador.

“These grade rankings are something the sustainably minded consumer looks for when shopping for seafood all around the world,” explains FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “It’s a testament to the progress made by inshore fish harvesters in our province to turn the northern cod fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador into a world-renowned, trustworthy and sustainable source of seafood,” Pretty says.

FFAW-Unifor’s FIP efforts also include partnerships with Tangly Whales and WWF-Canada to build and distribute line cutters; ensuring harvesters have the tools in hand to safely release leatherback turtles or other bycatch.

“When we started this FIP over 10 years ago, we asked ourselves what we would need to do to have a truly sustainable cod fishery”, says FFAW-Unifor Senior Fisheries Scientist, Dr. Erin Carruthers. “In addition to the core fishery management and stock growth objectives, our FIP also includes commitments to take care of cod habitats, to give harvesters the tools and training for better handling of bycatch, and to improve monitoring of the recreational cod fishery.”

Receiving this top grade acknowledges FFAW-Unifor’s continued commitment and work to build a sustainable and healthy fishery.