MEDIA RELEASE: DFO Releases Cod Harvest Plan, Ignores Input from Harvesters

DFO Releases Cod Harvest Plan, Ignores Input from Harvesters

July 27, 2020

Inshore fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador are calling for a meeting with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Bernadette Jordan, to discuss the department’s pattern of ignoring input from fish harvesters in management decisions following today’s release of the 2J3KL harvesting plan for northern cod.

“While we expect delays due to the global pandemic, time and time again this summer we have seen not only delays from DFO but also a blatant disregard for harvester input,” says FFAW‑Unifor Keith Sullivan. “Harvesters have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and have already experienced substantial losses this year. DFO’s management of this and other species will undoubtedly intensify that,” he adds.

The fishing season is set to begin on August 9 for harvesters on the island (3KL) and will run until November 14 and will start August 2 for harvesters in Labrador (2J) and run until September 26. These start dates are later than what was requested by harvesters, taking away valuable time for quality and abundant fish.

The harvest plan comes weeks later than expected and follows a similarly delayed and disappointing management plan for northern cod. 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.

Just last week, DFO renewed a deal that will see 1,000mt of Yellowtail flounder given to the United States while inshore harvesters are refused access.

Similarly, for the last several years DFO has refused to incorporate harvester knowledge and science in mackerel decisions. Harvesters are demanding Minister Jordan meet with harvesters to discuss these concerns before the mackerel fishery opens this fall.

“This is the worst economic situation our fishery has seen since the cod moratorium. Instead of finding ways to ease the burden on our coastal communities, DFO’s actions are only making it more difficult for inshore harvesters to keep their heads above water,” concludes Sullivan.

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For media inquiries, please contact Courtney Glode, FFAW-Unifor Communications, at [email protected] or 709-743-4445. 

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