November 20, 2020 – For years, fish harvesters on the South Coast of Newfoundland and Labrador have been vocal about declining cod stocks in the 3Ps fishing area. The inshore fleets in 3Ps have relied on cod traditionally to support multispecies enterprises, bringing important value and stability to our coastal communities.
The 2020 Department of Fisheries and Oceans stock assessment of 3Ps cod indicated continued low levels of the stock due to high natural mortality rates, while fishing mortality remains low. 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 have allowed continued fishing by the offshore and there has been very little effort to determine seal predation levels in 3Ps. FFAW-Unifor continues to raise the alarm on the impacts from seal populations and from offshore draggers to this vulnerable stock.
Fish harvesters are rightly concerned about the future of their fishery and the impact of seal populations and offshore draggers are having on 3Ps cod. DFO has made it clear that natural mortality is a significant driver of the continued poor status.
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. Despite this precedent, consecutive Ministers of Fisheries and Oceans have continued to permit offshore dragger activity in the area.
For media inquiries, please contact Courtney Langille at 709-693-8454 or at [email protected]