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WWF-Canada and FFAW-Unifor release action plan for rebuilding northern cod fishery

December 7, 2016

ST. JOHN’S – WWF-Canada and Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) released their action plan today for rebuilding northern cod in Newfoundland and Labrador. The comprehensive action plan is a milestone in a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) run by WWF-Canada and FFAW-Unifor on the northern cod (NAFO divisions 2J3KL) stewardship fishery operating in the inshore. The FIP will implement improvement measures that will ensure continued sustainability once the stock has grown to levels that support a full commercial fishery.

The FIP action plan includes:

  • The development of a rebuilding plan with timelines, biologically based reference points and harvest-control rules.
  • An estimate of the recreational cod-fishery catch.
  • Analysis of the type and amount of bait needed for the 2J3KL fishery.
  • Regular monitoring of ecosystem impacts, including potential bycatch of endangered, threatened and protected species.

The action plan:

  • Was prepared by an independent consultant to meet the guidelines for comprehensive FIPs of WWF and the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions.
  • Contains timelines and 17 improvement measures for the fishery.
  • Will be implemented over the next five years with annual progress assessments.

The action plan is the result of a September stakeholders meeting that included:

  • Harvesters operating vessels below 40-feet in length and longer than 40-feet
  • Fogo Island Co-operative Society Ltd.
  • Seafood Processors of Newfoundland and Labrador Inc.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council
  • Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Marine Stewardship Council
  • The Association of Seafood Producers

Keith Sullivan, president of FFAW-Unifor, said:
“Our FIP sets the right checks and balances in place to sustainably manage the transition to a new northern cod fishery that includes a strong rebuilding plan, and a fishery focused on quality for the most discerning and high-paying markets.”

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, said:
“Northern cod was once among the biggest fisheries in the world, and the stock’s collapse was one of the worst ecological disasters of our time. Although the stock remains in the critical zone, the latest scientific data show a very promising start to a recovery. The measures in our Fishery Improvement Project action plan are a blueprint for a world-class model of ecosystem and economic recovery through sustainable fishing and responsible oceans management.”

Action plan 
Work plan

About the FFAW
The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union represents over 12,000 working women and men throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, most of whom are employed in the fishing industry. For more info visit

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more info visit

For further information: Catharine Tunnacliffe, communications specialist,, +1 647-268-9686; Jessica McCormick, communications officer,, +1 709-576-7276