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Hundreds of thousands of pounds of herring dumped last week due to backward DFO policy: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, Nov. 22nd, 2022

This is one of three pictures sent to SEA-NL last week of hundreds of thousands of pounds of herring dumped in waters around the province.

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) condemns the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) policy that allowed for the dumping of hundreds of thousands of pounds of herring last week alone.

“Any DFO policy that allows for the dumping of fish is a backward policy that must end immediately,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s interim Executive Director. “Fishermen should be permitted to land the herring they catch, with the total amount subtracted from the overall quota.”

Herring fishermen here in the province say hundreds of thousands of pounds were dumped last week alone as the result federal policy that sets the small-fish tolerance at 20%. The minimum herring size in Newfoundland and Labrador is 9.75 inches or 24.76 cm.

When a seiner catches herring, samples must be taken to measure for small-fish tolerance, and if more than 20% is found to be under the minimum size the fish must be released.

Only owner-operators say the sampling process kills the herring by damaging its scales. An estimated 300,000/lbs of herring were dumped in one haul alone last week off the northeast coast.

DFO changed the small-fish tolerance in one area of this province last week to 30% from 20% for the over 65 purse-sceine fleet in the Gulf (fishing zone 4R). Fishermen in this province say the tolerance should be the same for all waters off the province.

But the change in small-fish tolerance will still result in fish being dumped. Countries like Iceland do not allow the discarding of fish.

Meantime, the minimum herring length in the Maritimes is 18 cm — 6.76 cm shorter than this province), with a 25% small-fish tolerance. As well, herring landings in the Maritimes by gillnet are not subject to quota or allocations.


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