DFO’s 2J3KL Groundfish Advisory Committee Meeting was held virtually earlier today to discuss a number of groundfish species, noting that the cod advisory is typically held in the spring. FFAW joined the call to discuss what has been brought up by harvesters over the past year, along with proposing three potential survey programs, that in agreement with the department could expand fishing prospects for harvesters. FFAW has requested additional seats at this advisory table as we feel those most impacted should have more input.
President Keith Sullivan presented the proposals that would provide valuable information and support harvesters:
2J3KL Atlantic Halibut Longline Survey and Tagging Program
DFO’s RV survey has been catching an increasing number of Atlantic halibut and harvesters have noticed the same. The RV survey only covers part of NL waters, and it is thought that commercial-sized halibut are able to outswim the trawl. We have proposed that there be a 2J3KL Atlantic Halibut Longline Survey and tagging program, much like those in the Gulf and southern stocks. This survey would involve setting line trawl gear to target for Atlantic halibut and record all halibut catch rate data, length frequencies, by-catch frequencies, and tagging of halibut to obtain tag release and return information
LINK TO PROPOSAL – 2J3KL Atlantic Halibut Longline Survey and Tagging Program
2J3KL Redfish Experimental Fishing Proposal
2+3K Redfish has been under moratorium since 1997, but the most recent assessment has shown that there’s been an improvement in the recruitment of redfish in recent years, which has been echoed by harvesters. Following similar measures to the Gulf surveys, we have proposed that harvesters survey the area in different depth strata and document the redfish species distribution and size classes.
LINK TO PROPOSAL – 2+3KL Redfish Experimental Fishing Proposal
American Plaice Inshore Distribution and Relative Abundance
Prior to the moratorium on American Plaice, or Deepwater flounder, was an important part of the inshore fishery but it has had very little survey information since then. We have proposed that there be a limited inshore, science-based fishery, whereby 10-15 fixed gear harvesters would fish for Deepwater flounder and collect length-frequency information, biological information that DFO may request and support American Plaice tagging programs.
LINK TO PROPOSAL – American Plaice Inshore Distribution and Relative Abundance