Harvest Levels Of Fish Stocks In Waters Off Newfoundland & Labrador Finalized

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The Northern cod is still under a catch moratorium. Pic: Oceana Canada.

St. John’s, NL: The Government of Canada has said it is committed to responsibly managing stocks in Newfoundland and Labrador to ensure the sustainability of fish species today and for generations to come.

This work requires close collaboration with harvesters, the Fish Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union, Indigenous partners, and other stakeholders while also considering socioeconomic factors and the most recent science advice.

Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, has announced decisions for the Northern cod stewardship fishery, the 2J3KLPs capelin fishery, and the Recreational groundfish fishery (known locally as the recreational food fishery).

The decisions are as follows:

• Northern cod (2J3KL) stewardship fishery – maximum authorized harvest level of 12,999 tonnes (an increase over the 2020 level of 12,350 tonnes);

◦ Northern Cod remains under moratorium, however, when a total allowable catch is established, the first 115,000 tonnes of directed Canadian access will be allocated to the inshore sector and Indigenous groups in Newfoundland and Labrador.

• 2J3KLPs capelin fishery – 14,533 tonnes (a 25 per cent reduction from 2020);

◦ The 2021 stock assessment noted that capelin abundance remains very low and the stock is experiencing reduced productivity. Capelin is essential to the entire ecosystem, and particularly as a foraging species for cod.

• Recreational groundfish fishery – 39 day season (roll-over of management approach, including season, days and regulations from 2020).

◦ The fishery includes an individual daily bag limit of five groundfish, with a maximum boat limit of 15 fish when three or more people are fishing – the same as last year. Our oceans are vital to the livelihoods of communities across Canada. We want to keep our oceans healthy, so we can grow these industries sustainably, and create more opportunities for our coastal communities. We also recognize the cultural importance of recreational fisheries and the economic spin-off they create.

Bernadette Jordan said: “Our government understands the value of the fishery to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and its importance in sustaining prosperous coastal communities. These decisions will provide access to the resource while considering science advice and socioeconomics. When science shows declines in stocks, we act; and when we see stocks rebounding, we responsibly pass gains along to industry.

“With our rebuilding plan for Northern cod we are forging a path forward for the stock while taking into account reasonable fishing opportunities as well as the cultural and historical attachment to the resource. The food fishery is important to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and I’m pleased to keep the same management measures in place this year.

“I thank harvesters, the FFAW, Indigenous partners and other stakeholders who provided advice and input into this year’s management process. I wish you a safe fishing season.”

• In accordance with the rebuilding plan and associated Harvest Decision Rule for Northern cod, the maximum authorized harvest level for the stewardship fishery this year will be 12,999 tonnes.

• Capelin is an integral component of the ecosystem on the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelf and is an important forage species for important stocks such as Northern cod. Recent science advice for 2J3KLPs capelin indicates prospects remain poor with continued record poor larval production, late spawning, and a lack of sustained growth in the stock.

• The Newfoundland and Labrador Recreational Groundfish Fishery – known locally as the recreational food fishery – will be open this season for 39 days. Every Saturday, Sunday and Monday from July 3 to September 6, and also for the period September 25 to October 3.

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