It’s a job not to be suspicious of charity groups like Oceana that “urgently" recommends the counting of every last fish caught in Canadian waters when they don’t breathe a word about foreign draggers that pillage migratory stocks outside 200 miles. Nothing to say about seals either — other than baby harps are "adorable," harbour seals are "the cutest," and grey seals like to play peek-a-boo.
Grey seals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are blamed by Fisheries and Oceans for the continued decline of groundfish stocks such as cod, and yellowtail flounder. The above 2018 tweet by Oceana and others like it distract from efforts to reduce growing seal herds.
On Nov. 22nd Oceana released a report critical of DFO for not following through on a policy to count all catches in a fishery — arguing the key to preventing overfishing and controlling bycatch is knowing how many fish are harvested each year.
(The position appears to support DFO's move to phase out paper logbooks in favour of electronic ones by 2024. Robert Keenan, formerly of the FFAW, works for a company that will sell them.)
At the same time, Oceana does not breathe a word about the devastating impact that foreign overfishing has on migratory stocks such as northern cod once they swim outside 200-miles.
No word from Oceana on how to count those fish.
SEA-NL highlighted the foreign overfishing issue this past August: Capt of Faroese longliner cited 6 times in under year for halibut fishing violations on Grand Banks
That's the same Faroese skipper who made his own allegations against Spanish and Portuguese offshore draggers in October 2021: 'Pirate trawlers’ destroying Grand Banks under DFO’s nose, says Captain of Faroe Islands longliner
Unlike most countries, the continental shelf off Canada's East Coast (Newfoundland and Labrador) extends beyond 200 miles, leaving migratory stocks vulnerable once they cross over to international waters.
Those international waters are managed by NAFO, or the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, which is toothless, unable to enforce the quotas it sets.
Again, not a word from Oceana about NAFO, although here's another Oceana tweet about an "adorable baby harp seal."
This past April Oceana called for the shut down of the capelin fishery to help rebuild the stock.
The 2022 total allowable catch for capelin off Labrador, and eastern/southern Newfoundland (2J3KLPs) was set at 14,355 tonnes, although only about 4,800 tonnes were taken.
A 1994 study of seal predation in Atlantic Canada estimated harp seals — which at the time numbered 4.8 million — consumed 620,000 tonnes of capelin.
The harp seal herd has since grown to 7.6 million animals, a 58% increase.
Meantime, Oceana thinks harbor seals are "the cutest."
Oceana held a symposium on Oct. 26th in Ottawa, entitled Rebuilding Abundance, Priorities for a Resilient Ocean that included FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan, who has also served as a Canadian commission to NAFO since 2019. Senior DFO officials — including the ADM of strategic policy — were also in attendance.
Nice and tidy.
Executive Director, SEA-NL
Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is a professional, non-profit organization serving as the distinct voice for licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters. You can read more about SEA-NL, and join us here.