Harvesters Call on DFO to Immediately Release Cod Fishery Harvest Plan
July 21, 2020
FFAW-Unifor is calling on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to release the 2020 harvest plan for northern cod as the fishery is expected to begin in less than two weeks. Harvesters are unable to make important preparations for the upcoming fishery as they lack the crucial information, such as opening dates and gear limits, contained within DFO’s harvest plan.
“While we expect delays due to the global pandemic, harvesters are unable to plan for a fishery that’s set to begin just days from now,” says FFAW-Unifor Keith Sullivan. “Harvesters have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and have already experienced substantial losses this year. They need to know where the stand going into this year’s cod fishery,” he adds.
The delayed harvest plan follows a significantly delayed and disappointing management plan for northern cod that came more than a month later than the expected timeframe. The management plan that was released on July 8 announced a rollover to the total allowable catch (TAC) as a result of an inadequate assessment by DFO that failed to take into account important data as well as harvester observations – the results of which will have dire impacts on an already suffering inshore fishery due to the pandemic.
The northern cod stewardship fishery is critically important to inshore fish harvesters and processing plant workers in Newfoundland and Labrador. With recent declines in snow crab quotas, northern cod has become vital to the inshore fishery and coastal communities. There is currently an abundance of cod available inshore harvesters. DFO must release the harvest plan immediately to give harvesters and plants an opportunity to plan for the upcoming season.
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