FFAW Calls on Government to Release Management Plan for Northern Cod
July 7, 2020
ST. JOHN’S, NL – FFAW-Unifor is calling on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to release the 2020 management plan for the northern cod stewardship fishery. The management plan, which is normally released in May or early June, provides information on total allowable catches and season dates. With the summer fishery usually opening the first week of August, harvesters need to know what they can expect for the upcoming season.
“While we expect delays due to the unprecedented global pandemic, we are now entering the second week of July with no indication of what harvesters can expect for a fishery that should open just weeks from now,” says FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan. “Harvesters have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and have already experienced significant losses this year. They need to know where they stand going into this year’s cod fishery,” he adds.
FFAW-Unifor proposed a modest 30% increase to a total allowable catch for the 2020 season due to extremely low fishing mortality rates and an increasing biomass. At 18,000mt there would be no impact on stock trajectory as a result of fishing, however harvesters remain concerned regarding natural mortality and the impact seal predation is having on groundfish stocks.
Northern cod, if managed responsibly and in collaboration with industry, has the potential to provide significant opportunity for a sustainable fishery. Modest increases in the harvest rates can simultaneously build capacity on land without having any significant impact on the growth of the stock.
“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. Add to that a global pandemic and the impacts it has had on the inshore fishery, the northern cod fishery is more important than ever. It’s crucial that DFO shed some light immediately on what the industry can expect this season,” concludes Sullivan.
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