January 14, 2021 – The inshore fleets in 3Ps have relied on cod traditionally to support multispecies enterprises, bringing important value and stability to coastal communities. Following DFO’s annual meeting on January 13th to discuss a variety of groundfish stocks in preparation for decisions on 2021 quotas, a key priority for FFAW is to ensure that harvesters in 3Ps receive the remaining quota for cod in their area.
“Fish harvesters are rightly concerned about the future of their fishery, especially the impact of seal predation on 3Ps cod and other stocks, ” said Keith Sullivan, FFAW President. “The issue of seal populations were dismissed by DFO while being echoed by other stakeholders, maintaining that natural mortality is a significant driver of the continued poor status of the 3Ps stocks, which is concerning”.
Despite strong opposition by FFAW-Unifor for the last several years on the operation of the offshore fishery and seal predation in the area of 3Ps, the Federal Government has continued to allow fishing by the offshore and there has been very little effort to determine seal predation levels in 3Ps. Last year, the 3Ps cod quota was set at 2,691 tons. According to past practice, when the 3Ps cod quota is set below the 10,000 ton threshold, offshore trawlers are removed from the fishery. This was the case in 1997 when the fishery re-opened in the area.
While different perspectives were shared among industry representatives, the FFAW look forward to continuing discussions and bringing forward the concerns of harvesters in 3Ps as quotas for the next fishing season, April 2021 to March 2022, are being decided following further negotiations.
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