After attending the Atlantic Mackerel Science Assessment Process in February, this week harvesters Randy Randell (3K) & Allan Sheppard (4R) along with Staff Rep Jason Spingle were joined by harvester Robbie Green (3L) at the Atlantic Mackerel Advisory Committee in Halifax, NS. The FFAW contingent participated along with more than 40 other committee members & observers noting this was noted by DFO as the largest participation in this meeting. Following a presentation by science a number of questions and issues were posed.
The FFAW led the discussion on TAC with a proposal of 36,000t for 2017. Allen stated “while I respect that science has done their very best, their summary of low abundance just does not fit with our long-term experience and more importantly the significant abundance of fish we saw in 2016.” Others echoed Allen’s position including the large seiner & processing reps from NL.
Robbie Green stated that “we saw small fish for each of the last several years so we shouldn’t be surprised that large fish showed up last year!” He went on to say, “we have a unique history with Mackerel in NL and it’s a cycle, we have to be able to take some advantage when it shows up.”
Jason Spingle said that despite the ongoing view of science the discussions were constructive speaking to the knowledge / input of harvesters throughout the region. He supported the recommendation by advising that harvesters will work with the department / science to improve information on this stock. 2016 marked the first time that the TAC was a limiting factor to the fishery. A decision on TAC / management measures are expected later this spring.