OTTAWA: Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan, has announced that an agreement in principle has been reached with France regarding 3Ps cod for the 2021 fishing season.
Since 1994, Canada and France (in respect of Saint Pierre and Miquelon) have co-managed fish stocks, including cod in the 3Ps zone off the south coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Under the Procès-Verbal Agreement, the two countries meet annually to negotiate management measures, including the total allowable catch (TAC) of shared stocks in the North Atlantic.
Both countries intend to support a TAC of 1,346 t, a 50 per cent TAC reduction from last year. Given that the stock is in the critical zone, a TAC reduction is necessary. The reduced fishing effort will allow the fishery to remain open, while promoting growth of the stock.
Additionally, Canada has committed to work with stakeholders and harvesters over the coming year to develop a rebuilding plan for 3Ps cod in advance of 2022 discussions, and to continue with full, robust, and comprehensive science assessments on this important species.
This will help create a more sustainable fishery for future generations. Canada and France have also agreed in principle on a rollover of TACs for 3Ps Witch flounder, Unit 2 Redfish, and 3Ps Iceland scallop, and to maintain a moratorium for 3Ps American plaice.
Canada values the long-standing Procès-Verbal Agreement with France and intends to implement the negotiated outcomes of this year’s meetings, it was stated.
Bernadette Jordan said: “We know how important cod is to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, both economically and culturally. Currently, the best available science tells us that 3Ps cod is in the critical zone, and we need to act now. The reduction in TAC
will provide some stability to the fishery, while helping protect the health of the stocks.
These decisions are difficult, but the actions taken today will strengthen the fishery and the livelihoods of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for generations to come.”
• Canada entered the negotiations recommending no directed fishery for 3Ps cod, based on the best available science and consistent with Fishery and Oceans Canada’s Precautionary Framework Approach, which requires removals be kept at the lowest possible level until a stock clears the critical zone.
• The science assessment for 3Ps cod places the stock in the critical zone at 38 per cent of the limit reference point, down from 40 per cent last year. 3Ps cod has been in the critical zone since the early 2000s. A 50 per cent reduction of the TAC provides a 75 per cent probability of some stock growth by 2023.