Press Release

May 24, 2020


FRCC’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NORTHERN COD
AND FOR GROUNDFISH STOCKS ON GEORGES BANK

Ottawa, ON -- The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) released today its annual advice to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in two reports: 2001/2002 Conservation Requirements for 2J3KL Cod and 2001 Conservation Requirements for Groundfish Stocks on Georges Bank.

The Council’s advice is to increase cautiously total removals for Georges Bank cod and haddock, to maintain yellowtail flounder catches at the same level as last year, and to decrease the catch of northern (2J3KL) cod.

The Council’s report for northern cod continues to show the depressed state of this stock.

"The northern cod stock has shown no significant signs of recovery since the moratorium on fishing was declared in 1992," said Mr. Fred Woodman, Chairman of the FRCC.

The report continues to underscore the need to maintain an index fishery for this stock to gather information about spatial and temporal distribution, catch rates, and age and weights of year classes which is essential to monitoring the state of the stock. The FRCC believes that all stock removals must contribute to the monitoring of stock status and be of scientific value, and supports only those fisheries which return maximum information to science and management. For these reasons, the FRCC does not support the recreational fishery at the present time for 2J3KL cod.

During its consultations in April in Newfoundland, the Council once again heard overwhelmingly from the fishermen in attendance about the impact of seals on the recovery of the northern cod: there was a consensus among fishermen that this stock cannot recover with seal populations at their current levels. Indeed, the recent Stock Status Report acknowledges the possibility that predation by seals is preventing the recovery of the 2J3KL cod stock. The Council recommends that areas where cod are aggregated and where seals are inflicting high mortality on cod be immediately designated as seal exclusion zones.

"The Council is cautiously optimistic about the prospects for Georges Bank haddock and yellowtail flounder," said Mr. Fred Woodman, Chairman of the FRCC. "We have an opportunity to expand spawning stock biomass and age structures in these stocks, and we are pursuing those objectives. Industry has made enormous strides in adopting conservation measures for these stocks, and the Council applauds these efforts."

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

5Zjm cod

The Council’s advice on this stock allows the mixed cod/haddock fishery to continue: while such a fishery will prolong the recovery of the cod stock, it should not unduly harm it, and the Council accepts this as a reasonable compromise in the short term. The increasing strength of the haddock stock will complicate this situation, and reasonable measures must be implemented to avoid cod in the directed haddock fishery.

For 2001, the Council recommends total removals of 5Zjm cod of 2,200t, an increase of 200t over last year.

5Zjm haddock

The FRCC recommends that total removals of 5Zjm haddock for 2001 be set at 7,200t, an increase of 1,200t over last year.

5Zjmhn yellowtail flounder

The FRCC recommends that total removals of 5Zjmhn yellowtail flounder for 2001 be maintained at 6,000t.

2J3KL (northern) cod

The FRCC recommends that the moratorium on fishing the shelf and Bank components of 2J3KL continue for the foreseeable future.

The FRCC recommends that only sentinel and index fisheries be prosecuted in 3KL, with sentinel fisheries only in 2J. The FRCC recommends that the total catch for coastal 2J3KL not exceed 5,600t.

Among its other recommendations for northern cod, the FRCC also recommends:

A complete version of the report can be found on the FRCC’s website at: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/frcc.

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For more information:

Michel G. Vermette
Executive Director, FRCC
Telephone: (613) 998-0433
E-mail: vermettem@dfo-mpo.gc.ca