Fisheries and Oceans Canada has rolled over the 2022 cod quota off southern Newfoundland (fishing zone 3Ps) at 1,346 tonnes, and offshore draggers are still allowed to fish their 12.2% share of the Canadian quota.
Baine Harbour, Burin Peninsula.
DFO agreed to the 3Ps cod quota with France (in respect of St. Pierre-Miquelon) as the two countries co-manage various stocks.
Canada and France also agreed on a rollover of total allowable catches (TACs) for 3Ps witch flounder (650 tonnes), Unit 2 Redfish (8,500 tonnes), 3Ps Iceland scallop (990 tonnes), and to maintain a moratorium for 3Ps American plaice.
Canadian shares of the stocks:
Cod — 1,136 tonnes (84%)
Witch flounder — 577 tonnes (88%)
Unit 2 redfish — 8,194 tonnes (96%)
scallops — 297 tonnes (30%)
In February, SEA-NL formally asked federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray to ban bottom trawling for 3Ps cod.
The minister did not respond.
The province has three adjacent cod stocks, each of which is deemed by DFO to be in the critical zone, meaning fishing must be kept to a minimum.
But while bottom-trawling for cod is banned for two of those stocks — northern cod off Labrador and eastern Newfoundland (fishing zones 2J3KL), and Gulf cod (4R,3Pn) — it's allowed to continue for 3Ps cod.
HISTORY OF 3PS COD STOCK
A moratorium was imposed on the 3Ps cod stock in August 1993, and at that time 15,000 tonnes of the 20,000 total allowable catch had been landed.
Although offshore landings fluctuated, the inshore fleet reported landings around 20,000 tonnes each year from 1959 to the moratorium.
The fishery reopened in May 1997 with a TAC of 10,000 tonnes, which increased to 30,000 tonnes by 1999.
By 2015/16 the 3Ps cod quota was back down to 15,000 tonnes.
In March 2016, the 3PS cod fishery became the first Atlantic cod fishery to achieve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification as sustainable and well managed.
Fourteen months later, in May 2017, Icewater Seafoods and Ocean Choice International (OCI) voluntarily suspended their MSC certificates for cod caught in 3Ps due to concerns over the health of the stock.
Six months later, in November 2017, Dominic LeBlanc, the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans of the day, made the shocking decision to allow offshore draggers back at the stock when it's most vulnerable — overwintering on the St. Pierre Bank in pre-spawning congregations.
Inshore fishermen in 3Ps had been led to believe they had exclusive access to the first 10,000 tonnes of cod quota in 3Ps, but that obviously wasn't the case.
There had been rumours in early 2021 of another moratorium on 3Ps cod, but the quota was later set at 1,346 tonnes — half the year before.
While the FFAW-Unifor formally objects to Ottawa's decision to allow offshore draggers back at the 3Ps cod stock, the depth of the opposition is questioned considering the FFAW represents trawlermen on the offshore draggers, and workers at the plant where the cod is processed.
In December, SEA-NL made public that DFO had assembled a group to propose a rebuilding plan for 3Ps cod, only the group excluded members of the inshore fleet.
Read the post here: SEA-NL condemns DFO’s backroom plans for rebuilding south coast cod stock
Executive Director, SEA-NL
To read more about SEA-NL, and for owner-operators to join please visit our website or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Please sign SEA-NL's petition to the House of Commons on non-core commercial fishing licences here.