Press Release

April 7, 2020


FRCC’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GROUNDFISH STOCKS
IN THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE FOR 2000/2001

Ottawa, ON -- The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) released today its annual advice to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for 2000/2001 conservation requirements for groundfish stocks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The advice which the Council provides is to maintain catch levels on most of the stocks: for some stocks this status quo represents an attempt to continue the rebuilding underway, such as for 4TVn cod, while for others, it reflects uncertainties about the condition of the stock.

"We are pleased that the prospects for 4TVn cod in the southern Gulf remains positive," said Mr. Fred Woodman, Chairman of the FRCC. "Rebuilding is slow, and the cautious approaches of industry and of the Council should enhance the prospects for future biomass growth."

The Council is concerned about the prospects for 3Pn4RS cod in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence. The information provided by scientists is at odds with the more optimistic views of some industry stakeholders. Scientists’ assessment of the stock differed significantly from last year’s assessment.

"Changing the formulation of the model from one year to the next makes it very difficult to have a consistent view of stock status," said Dr. Jean-Claude BrÍthes, Vice-Chairman of the FRCC. "We are recommending that scientists work with industry to provide a coherent view of this stock."

In keeping with its mandate, the Council will undertake discussions with stakeholders in the fishing industry, with scientists and fisheries managers within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to begin the development of strategies, objectives and indicators for Atlantic groundfish. This will provide everyone with a clear understanding of what the objectives for each stock might be and how these objectives can be achieved.

The Council’s key recommendations for 2000/2001 are:

4TVn cod

The Council notes that prospects for this stock are positive, with modestly improving recruitment. The Council also notes that recent assessments track closely from one year to the next, and that industry views on this stock are generally consensual. For 2000/2001, the FRCC recommends maintaining the TAC at 6,000t.

3Pn4RS cod

The Council is concerned about an apparently high fishing mortality in this stock, the lack of improvement in the age structure of the population, the consumption of cod by seals, and the changed formulation of the assessment model. For 2000/2001, the FRCC recommends a TAC of 7,000t, a decrease from the 1999/2000 TAC of 7,500t.

Other groundfish stocks:

4T American plaice

The Council is encouraged by industry initiatives to decrease catches of small American plaice, but remains concerned at the lack of rebuilding in this stock. The Council recommends maintaining the 2000/2001 TAC at 2,000t.

4RST witch flounder

The scientific assessment for this stock indicates an increase in the biomass in some areas. Industry also reports an increase in the biomass. For 2000/2001, the FRCC recommends a TAC of 1,000t, an increase from the 1999/2000 TAC of 800t.

4RST Greenland halibut

The FRCC recommends maintaining the 2000/2001 TAC at 4,500t.

4T white hake

The FRCC recommends no directed fishery for this stock and that restrictive measures be implemented to minimize by-catches.

4RST Atlantic halibut

The FRCC recommends maintaining the 2000/2001 TAC at 350t.

4T winter flounder

The FRCC recommends maintaining the 2000/2001 TAC at 1000t.

4T yellowtail flounder

The FRCC recommends that a 2000/2001 quota of 300t be maintained in the Magdalen Islands area, and that the fishery be restricted to by-catches in other areas.

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For information:
Michel G. Vermette
Executive Director, FRCC
(613) 998-0433