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Closure Without Cause – Reopen the Atlantic Mackerel Fishery

FFAW-Unifor is calling on Minister Joyce Murray to reopen the Atlantic Mackerel fishery in 2023. Sign the petition to show your support or read more information below.

DFO has failed to incorporate a decade worth of observations and evidence. Evidence that suggests that DFO’s assessment model is missing an important component of the Atlantic mackerel stock.

The Atlantic mackerel fishery MUST be reopened in 2023. Newfoundland and Labrador communities must not bear the burden of government incompetency.


Fish harvesters spend their lives on the water. There are many harvesters who have more than 50 years experience on the water. They have historical knowledge of fish patterns, and they have a better idea of the marine ecosystem off their coasts than DFO Science. In fact, they’ve doubled down on their claim that the mackerel stock is in critical condition, despite hundreds of harvesters’ observations that mackerel are more abundant now that they have been for decades.


Atlantic mackerel have been observed around Newfoundland and Labrador in abundance. Mackerel arrive earlier than DFO assumes and are in a much greater abundance. There are a range of mackerel sizes in Newfoundland and Labrador waters from young of the year, known as Pencil mackerel, to large adults in spawning condition.

For nearly ten years, FFAW-Unifor has lobbied for additional science. Our Union has taken the initiative through our internal Science Department. We collected samples and we surveyed nearly 200 mackerel harvesters. This information is more than anecdotal, and it needs to be prioritized by Minister Murray.


FFAW-Unifor coordinated the collection of pencil mackerel around Newfoundland and Labrador in 2018 and 2019 and carried out on the water sampling in 2022. Harvesters from all over the province have observed increased abundance of all sizes of mackerels, in locations, sizes and in quantities that should not occur if DFO’s assessment is correct. 

Click here to sign the petition now!


This is not first time this information has been raised. In fact, FFAW-Unifor has been maintaining research and advocacy on this issue for nearly 10 years. Minister Murray must look at ALL of the evidence, not just on DFO Science’s limited assessment.


VIDEO – CLOSURE WITHOUT CAUSE (feat. Notre Dame Bay Harvester, Trevor Jones)


Press Release – February 27, 2023

Opinion Article – Greg Pretty, February 27, 2023


Trevor Jones Opinion Editorial Page 1 and Page 2

Harvester Observations – Fall 2022 Survey Page 1 and Page 2

Press Release August 2022

Press Release July 2022

Press Release March 2022


Press Release November 2021

Young of the Year Mackerel Reports September 13, 2021

Press Release May 2021

Mackerel Advisory Update March 2021


Press Release November 14, 2020

Press Release May 2020

Mackerel Advisory Update March 2020


Expanding Knowledge of Mackerel Spawning Behaviour September 2019

Press Release September 2019

Meeting with Federal Minister August 2019

Press Release August 28, 2019

Press Release May 2019


Press Release October 17,  2018

Press Release October 5, 2018

Sampling 2018

Winter 2018 – Why Pencil Mackerel Matter for Assessments 


Press Release November 20, 2017

Press Release November 17, 2017

Press Release August 2017

Mackerel Assessment Update March 2017

Framework Review Update January 24, 2017


Letter November 2016

Press Release October 21, 2016

Click here to sign the petition to help send a message to Ottawa!