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SEA-NL calls on Ottawa to lift moratorium on Atlantic mackerel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, Dec. 27th, 2022 Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to lift the moratorium on Atlantic mackerel in 2023, and establish a quota at least equal to the United States.

This picture of dead mackerel on the shores of Charleston, Bonavista Bay was taken on Dec. 23rd. Similar shots of mackerel washed ashore in Virgin Arm were also posted last week on social media. Enterprise owners speculate the fish died when the water temperatures dropped. Alf Pike photo.


“DFO’s decision earlier this year to slap a moratorium on the Atlantic mackerel fishery while American fishermen continued to fish the same stock — combined with relatively weak science, and then even less data without fishermen on the water — was wrong from the get-go,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s executive director.

“Fishermen also reported unprecedented amounts of mackerel from various year classes in waters around Newfoundland and Labrador this fall — reflecting a strong, healthy stock,” added Cleary. “DFO must correct its mistake, and reopen the Atlantic mackerel fishery in 2023.”

In March, federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray ordered a moratorium on the Atlantic mackerel commercial/bait fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, even as the U.S. continued fishing the same stock with a 4,963-tonne quota.

The American quota for 2023 has been set at 3,629 tonnes.

Murray has yet to say whether the Canadian moratorium will be extended, but she has reportedly been trying to land a joint management agreement with the United States to manage the mackerel stock. Formal talks between Canada and the U.S. are scheduled for February.

DFO has also denied inshore enterprise owners the right to renew their mackerel licenses, with department officials explaining the move as administrative in light of this year's moratorium.

“The issue comes down to trust between mackerel fishermen and DFO, and the fact there is none,” said Cleary.

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Contact: Ryan Cleary 682 4862

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