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U.S. sets 3,639-tonne mackerel quota; Ottawa must reopen fishery to Cdn/NL fishermen at same TAC

The United States has set the 2023 total allowable catch (TAC) for Atlantic Mackerel at 3,639 tonnes, a move that should force Ottawa to lift the moratorium introduced last year on Canadian/NL fishermen who fish the same stock.

Dead or dying mackerel (like these photographed in Charleston, Bonavista Bay on Dec. 23rd) washed ashore all along Newfoundland's northeast coast right up to late January. DFO said the fish could not be collected for bait.


Shutting down a fishery to one country and not the other was a "useless sacrifice" from the get-go —especially with unprecedented schools of mackerel reported off this province's east coast.


Canada slapped a moratorium on Atlantic mackerel in March 2022, even as the United States fished a quota last year of 4,963 tonnes.


The U.S. will continue fishing mackerel this year, but reduced its quota by 27% to 3,639 tonnes.


Federal Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray had been lobbying the U.S. for joint management of the mackerel stock, but obviously without any luck.



DFO's science on Atlantic mackerel was relatively weak, with even less data without fishermen on the water.


Fishermen reported unprecedented schools of mackerel along Newfoundland’s northeast coast right up to January.


Enterprise owners speculate cold water temperatures killed the mackerel, and DFO would not allow the fish to be collected for bait.


DFO 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.


SEA-NL called on DFO to allow enterprise owners to renew the licenses regardless of whether there's a moratorium or not.


Ryan Cleary,

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 register for the Feb. 25th, 2023 AGM here.

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