December 17, 2020
FRCCS 1999 RECOMMENDATIONS for SCOTIAN SHELF, BAY of FUNDY,
Halifax, NS -- The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) released today its annual advice to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for 1999 conservation requirements for Scotian Shelf and Bay of Fundy groundfish stocks, redfish Units 1-3 and 3-O, and Newfoundland groundfish stocks in Division 3Ps.
The Council is alarmed by the changes in assessments for certain Scotian Shelf groundfish stocks and is concerned overall with the changes that have been noted by DFO science and by many who spoke at FRCC consultations.
The FRCC is committed to rebuilding these stocks back to their long-term levels. "We must continue to look for reasons why this rebuilding is not occurring -- this includes asking some tough questions and making even tougher recommendations," said FRCC Chairman Fred Woodman.
A significant shift in effort has been a serious signal in other fisheries of approaching dangers, and the FRCC remains concerned about the shift in fishing effort to the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. The Council asks that both DFO Fisheries Management and DFO Science update their data on the shift for cod, haddock and pollock.
The following are the Councils key recommendations for 1999:
There is an extraordinary degree of uncertainty about the assessment of this stock. As a first step, we recommend that the TAC be significantly lowered to 12,000 t. The Council has also recommended that DFO Science take necessary action to investigate and implement alternate and/or additional methods of estimating abundance throughout the stock range for future assessments of this stock.
The FRCC notes with dismay that the outlook for 4X cod has continued to decline despite following a rebuilding approach. For 1999, the FRCC recommends a TAC of 7,000 t.
The Council recommends maintaining the TAC at 8,100 t.
Other groundfish stocks
For silver hake the Council recommends reducing the TAC to 30,000 t, and asks that measures be put in place to minimize the catch of juvenile fish on Emerald Bank and LaHave Basin. The Council was alarmed at the decline in white hake and recommends that the directed fishery be stopped and limited to bycatches only.
The FRCC is calling for a more stable approach to redfish. DFO Stock Status reports have been of great concern to the Council and to the fishing industry, mainly with respect to the disparity of stock assessment approaches between management units; the survey biomass estimates represent very different pictures in relation to the total biomass. Exploitation rates range from 6 % in Unit 2, to 10 % in 3O, to 15 % in Unit 3.
The Council recommends that DFO management establish a working group to include industry, FRCC and DFO science, to develop a management approach for all four redfish stocks. As part of this approach, the FRCC recommends that measures be taken to protect juvenile redfish and to avoid their capture, especially in Unit 3 and Division 3O.
As part of our recommendations in previous years, the FRCC has pushed for the commercial cod fishery in this area to spread over the full fishing year to better understand its complex mix of stock sub-components. Based on preliminary research survey results and positive commercial fisheries reports, the FRCC feels it safe to recommend an interim quota for 3Ps cod at a TAC of 6,700 t, to be established from January 1 to April 30, 1999. Catches for this period would be counted against the 1999 quota once the FRCC has provided its advice to the Minister. The FRCC is concerned with the mixing of the 3Pn4RS cod stock on Burgeo Bank during the winter months and recommends that measures such as seasonal closures be put in place to minimize the potential impact on the stock.
The FRCC is committed to rebuilding groundfish stocks, as is its mandate, and recommendations for 1999 reflect this strategy. The Council will provide advice on all Gulf of St. Lawrence groundfish stocks and on Northern and 3Ps cod in early spring 1999.
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