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Almost 5 million/lbs of northern cod left in water from 2021 season should be rolled over: SEA-NL

The 4.8 million pounds of northern cod that was not caught in the 2021 stewardship fishery off Labrador and eastern Newfoundland should be rolled over to this season for the inshore fleet to catch. Almost five million/lbs were also left in the water in the 2020 stewardship fishery, and 4.3 million/lbs in 2019. If DFO sets a harvest cap then that cap should be taken, and, if not, tacked on to the next year's total.

Starting Wednesday (Aug. 17th), the northern cod fishery off Newfoundland's east coast will temporarily close as landings are approaching the maximum amount of fish allocated for the summer period — 7,799 tonnes of the 12,999-tonne harvest cap. Old Perlican photo.

SEA-NL plans to put that in a formal request to DFO today.

Enterprise owners on the northeast coast are reporting an exceptional summer cod fishery, with good size and abundance.

More inshore boats also seem to have gone after cod this year after the east coast capelin fishery failed to open, and squid have yet to show up in huge numbers.

While the 1992 moratorium on northern cod remains in effect, DFO has allowed a small-scale stewardship fishery since 2006. According to DFO, the total number of active enterprises in 2021 stood at 1,259, down 14% from 1,468 enterprises in 2018.

DFO allows enterprise owners to choose whether to fish in the summer or fall.

DFO chart.

The landed value of the northern cod fishery dropped to $15.2 million in 2021 from $16.1 million in 2019, with the average weight of round (whole) cod coming in last year at 64¢/lb.

DFO chart.

SEA-NL wrote the state of this year's northern cod fishery here: Weekly catch limits, trip limits, fishing schedules, and scarce few buyers: cod fishery in nutshell

This year there was a change in the northern cod management plan in that 2,600 tonnes or 20% of the 12,999 tonnes were allocated specifically to Labrador (fishing zone 2J).

Of the two other cod stocks adjacent to Newfoundland, DFO slapped a one-year moratorium on northern Gulf cod in July, and the total allowable catch of cod off the south coast in fishing zone 3Ps this year was set at 1,346 tonnes, a rollover from the year before.

Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director, SEA-NL

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is a professional, non-profit organization representing licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters in the province. You can read more about SEA-NL, and join us here.

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