Press Release

May 22, 2020

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


Ottawa, ON -- The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) released today advice to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in a report entitled 2002 Conservation Requirements for Georges Bank Groundfish Stocks, and in a letter to the Minister on 2J3KL (Northern) cod.

Georges Bank:

The Council’s advice for Georges Bank is to increase cautiously total removals for haddock and yellowtail flounder, and to reduce catches of cod.

"We are concerned about the prospects for the cod stock on Georges Bank," said Fred Woodman, Chairman of the FRCC. "We recognise that these fish straddle the Canada / USA boundary, and any conservation measures must be implemented by both Canada and the USA in order to be effective. We are calling on the Minister to ensure that negotiations are undertaken to urgently conclude a bilateral agreement between Canada and the USA. Georges Bank cod depends on such an agreement."

"The mixed fishery for cod and haddock poses special challenges for the FRCC and for the fishing industry," said Mr. Jean Guy d’Entremont, Vice-Chairman of the FRCC. "How do we continue to harvest one stock which is in good shape, while we protect one that is not doing so well? The fishing industry and DFO have gone a long way to implement conservation measures which allow this mixed fishery to continue. These efforts must continue and fishermen must strive to act responsibly."

Northern Cod:

The Council’s letter on 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. Woodman. "Indeed, fishing effort was geographically concentrated on this stock in both the commercial and the recreational fisheries, and the level of removals which we recommended last year was exceeded substantially. We need to reduce fishing mortality on Northern cod."

The letter also provides advice on tightening the controls on the recreational fishery by reducing the number of licences sold, by restricting them geographically, and by reducing the number of fish allowed to be caught. The Council is also concerned about the impact which the strong shrimp, crab and turbot fisheries might be having on spawning and juvenile cod, and recommends the urgent development and immediate implementation of measures to protect these pre-spawning, spawning and juvenile aggregations of cod, especially in the Hawk Channel and along the 3K-3L line.

The Council’s key recommendations for 2002 are:

5Z,jm cod

The Council’s advice on this stock allows the mixed cod/haddock fishery to continue and recognises the transboundary nature of this resource. The increasing strength of the haddock stock continues to complicate this situation, and reasonable measures must be implemented to avoid cod in the directed haddock fishery.

For 2002, the Council recommends total removals of 5Z,jm cod should not exceed 1,900t.

5Z,jm haddock

The FRCC recommends that total removals of 5Z,jm haddock for 2002 be set at 8,500t.

5Z,jmhn yellowtail flounder

The FRCC recommends that total removals of 5Z,jmhn yellowtail flounder for 2002 be set at 7,700t.

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 removals of Northern cod be reduced and limited to a maximum of 5,600t, including recreational catches.

The FRCC also recommends that there be a full assessment on this stock in 2003.

Complete versions of these documents can be found on the FRCC’s website at: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/frcc.

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