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Capelin fishery underway off west coast/ good sign of fish; limited markets must be capitalized on

An estimated 10-12 boats from the province’s inshore fleet have started fishing capelin in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence in recent days, with owner-operators reporting good sign of fish. The fishery is far from load and go, however, with boats once again on on trip limits.

Video shot within the past 24 hours by Port Saunders capelin fisherman Boyd Lavers in the Straits between Newfoundland and Labrador.

Unlike the west coast, the capelin fishery off the east coast has yet to get underway this year. The east coast fishery is opened bay by bay, with the fish sampled first for minimum size/gender.

Owner-operators are calling on DFO to issue permits for the resumption of sampling on the east coast as soon as possible before the fish migrate north or spawn, or international capelin markets dry up.

The 2022 capelin quota for all of Newfoundland and Labrador is set at almost 25,000 tonnes (14,533 tonnes off eastern NL; 10,225 tonnes in the Gulf).

That amounts to about 3% of Iceland’s 904,200 tonne capelin quota for the 2021/22 season, a sevenfold increase over last year’s quota and a dramatic shift from 2019 and 2020 when there was no capelin quota.

The capelin price for this province's inshore fleet was set in mid June at35¢/lb for Grade A.

As of this morning, 5% of the almost 25,000-tonne quota has been taken.


According to the FFAW, the Association of Seafood Producers asked the province's price-setting panel last week for a capelin price reconsideration, but the request was denied.

That said, buyers are said to be coming forth to buy east coast capelin.

DFO has yet to address the issue of seals.

Department scientists have predicted the possible extinction of cod in the southern Gulf, with scientists saying the 56,000 grey seals are having an impact.

DFO reported last week that grey seals are also having an impact on yellowtail flounder in the Gulf.

Outside of a seal summit scheduled for this fall in St. John's, Ottawa has yet to put together a plan to tackle the impact of seals.

Which, from my perspective, is outright negligence in terms of proper fisheries management.

Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director, SEA-NL

To read more about SEA-NL, or to join the non-profit organization please visit

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