Press Release

April 18, 2020


FRCC’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GROUNDFISH STOCKS
IN THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE FOR 2001/2002

Moncton, NB -- The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) released today its annual advice to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for 2001/2002 conservation requirements for groundfish stocks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The advice which the Council provides is to maintain catch levels on all of the stocks. For some stocks, this stability represents an attempt to confirm the rebuilding which appears to be underway (3Pn4RS cod, witch flounder, Greenland halibut). In other stocks, it reflects a pessimistic outlook and is accompanied by conservation measures which must be implemented.

For the northern Gulf (3Pn4RS) cod stock, the Council advises that the TAC should remain at 7,000t for 2001/2002.

"We are seeing a gradual improvement of the northern Gulf cod stock ," said Mr. Fred Woodman, Chairman of the FRCC. "This slow improvement shows we are moving in the right direction, but it is not enough to increase the TAC. The strict fishing measures adopted by the industry are bearing fruit: they must continue."

In the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Council also recommends that the TAC remain unchanged at 6,000t for 2001/2002.

"We knew last year that this stock might decline somewhat given the low levels of young fish entering the fishery," said Dr. Jean-Claude BrÍthes, Vice-Chairman of the FRCC, "but we hope that implementation of the conservation measures we have recommended will allow fishing to continue at this level."

Dr. BrÍthes adds: "We are seeing a growing frustration on the part of fishermen who feel that even after several years of moratoria and severe fishing restrictions, scientists do not understand the reasons underlying the low productivity of some stocks."

The Council’s key recommendations for 2001/2002 are:

4TVn cod

The Council notes that prospects for this stock are less positive than they were last year, and that the stock may decline even in the absence of fishing. 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 2001/2002, the FRCC recommends s the implementation of conservation measures which will allow maintaining the TAC at 6,000t.

3Pn4RS cod

The Council is heartened by the rebuilding in this stock, with slow and gradual improvements apparent since the lows experienced in the mid-1990s. For 2001/2002, the FRCC recommends maintaining the TAC at 7,000t.

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 2001/2002 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 2001/2002, the FRCC recommends maintaining the TAC of 1,000t.

4RST Greenland halibut

The FRCC recommends maintaining the 2001/2002 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 2001/2002 TAC at 350t.

4T winter flounder

The FRCC recommends maintaining the 2001/2002 TAC at 1,000t.

4T yellowtail flounder

The FRCC recommends that a 2001/2002 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