April 1, 2021– This evening, Minister Bernadette Jordan announced the decision for 50 percent cut in quota for the 3Ps cod fishery as opposed to instituting a full closure. The quota for 2021 will be set at 1,345 tons.
“While the cut is better than a closure and provides some hope for the future, a further 50 percent cut is still not justified by the available fisheries science,” said Keith Sullivan, FFAW-Unifor President.
As repeated by many speakers at the FFAW rally on March 31st in support of 3Ps cod harvesters – the cod fishery in that area supports hundreds of local fishing enterprises, more than 200 plant workers, and other spin-off employment.
“Fish harvesters support conservation, and for that reason they accepted the 55 percent cut to their quota in 2020,” Sullivan continued. “The decision to apply a further 50 percent cut this year indicates that DFO has no plan to deal with the health of the cod stock in that area. It is either cut quotas or closure. Other management measures, such as controlling the seal population, are just not under consideration.”
Many inshore fish harvesters in 3Ps rely on the cod fishery entirely and do not have access to a shellfish license that would enable them to supplement the lost income from the reduction in cod quota. DFO’s 2020 assessment of 3Ps cod was released in November, and it notes that it is high natural mortality rates—not fishing—is driving the health of the stock. FFAW has urged action against the seal herd on the South Coast, which has grown to record levels but has yet to receive any response from the Federal Government on a plan to manage those impacts.
“We must ensure that the fishery is managed and harvested in a manner that is responsible and sustainable, and right now politics is having more influence in those strategies than science,” Sullivan concluded.
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