February 13, 2021
FRCC’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GROUNDFISH STOCKS ON THE
Halifax, NS - The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) released today its annual advice to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for 2004/2005 conservation requirements for groundfish stocks on the Scotian Shelf and in the Bay of Fundy.
The report notes little improvement in the status of groundfish stocks off Nova Scotia, and highlights ongoing declines in some stocks. Many groundfish species on the Scotian Shelf continue to experience poor growth and condition suggesting that the eco-systemic trend that has been generally unfavourable for many groundfish species over the last decade still persists.
During consultations this year, as in earlier years, the FRCC heard that the increase in the seal population is a cause for the poor state of the groundfish. In its report the FRCC supports recent proposals to develop a limited harvest of grey seals.
"In Southwest Nova Scotia, last year the Council had expressed concerns about the possible high level of mis-reporting and discarding in the 4X cod and haddock fisheries”, said FRCC Chairman, Jean Guy d’Entremont. “Although DFO and the industry have taken steps to curtail the cheating, the Council continues to be concerned about these poor fishing practices and recommends that further measures be taken to ensure that all fishing mortality is accounted for.”
The Council held consultations in Yarmouth, Dartmouth and Sydney during the first week of January. New scientific evidence was provided for a number of groundfish stocks. The Council also received a number of briefs and presentations in support of the views being presented. “The views of industry could be summarized as cautious optimism” mentioned Mr. d’Entremont.
Overall the report could be viewed as a recommendation for status quo for most fisheries in 2004-2005. The Council remains concerned with the status of the resource on the eastern portion of the Scotian Shelf. Many areas under fishing moratorium have shown signs of further decline. In its introduction to the report, the Council covers a number of factors that should be addressed by DFO and industry.
The Council’s key recommendations for 2004/2005 are:
During 2003, the Council made a conditional recommendation that total removals be limited to 6,000t as long as measures are put in place to reduce mis-reporting and discarding. The Council had noted that: “if after 2003/2004 fishing season, the Council concludes that the situation has not been satisfactorily remedied it will advise that the fishery be substantially reduced”. Given the progress made with enforcement and the stable condition of the resource, the Council sees no need to recommend a reduction in TAC and is again urging the Minister that total removals of 4X cod not exceed 6,000t.
Science reported that the 4X haddock stock will likely continue to experience modest growth. The Council has heard at consultations and from stakeholder briefs that stability was preferred over short-term fluctuation in TAC. In last year’s report the Council recommended a two year TAC at 10,000t. Given the above and the potential negative effects of the mixed haddock/cod fishery, the Council has recommended that the TAC remain at 10,000t for 2004/2005.
For 2004/2005, the FRCC recommends maintaining the TAC at 15,000t. The Council also recommends that Fisheries and Oceans proceed with an Intensive Fishery Evaluation for this stock.
The Council anticipated receiving an Intensive Fisheries Evaluation (IFE) for Atlantic halibut which was not completed. In the absence of an IFE and the exclusion of the fishery data from the Grand Banks (where significant halibut catches occurs) in the stock evaluation, the Council has recommended that the TAC remain at 1,300t for 2004/2005.
The Council recommends that the 4Vn Sentinel program continue and that total removals should not exceed 100t for the commercial index portion of the program.
The Council is recommending that the flatfish TAC be reduced to 1,000t as a result of continued concerns with the status of various flatfish species on the Eastern Scotian Shelf.
The full text of the report is available on the FRCC’s website at: www.frcc-ccrh.ca