November 7, 2020


Public Consultations Gulf of St. Lawrence Groundfish Stocks

To Stakeholders:

The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) will hold public consultations to gather information on Gulf of St. Lawrence groundfish stocks to assist the FRCC in making recommendations to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for 1998 conservation requirements for these groundfish stocks.

Consultations will take place at 1PM Monday, December 1 at the Quality Inn in Gaspé, 9:30AM Tuesday, December 2 at the Hotel Beauséjour in Moncton and 9:30AM Wednesday, December 3 at the Nautical Institute in Port Hawkesbury. Discussion will center around the following stocks:

COD (4T, 4Vn, 3Pn4RS) AMERICAN PLAICE (4T)
WITCH FLOUNDER (4RST) GREENLAND HALIBUT (4RST)
WHITE HAKE (4T) ATLANTIC HALIBUT (4RST)
WINTER FLOUNDER (4T)

Although new stock status reports for Gulf cod stocks have not yet been produced, DFO has made available the results of the fall survey in the southern Gulf and the FRCC is eager to hear your views on all Gulf of St. Lawrence groundfish fisheries, including cod.

DFO Science will conduct a full zonal assessment of 2J3KL, 3Ps, 4TVn, 4RS,3Pn, and 4VsW cod stocks in January 1998 which will include the results of sentinel fisheries and fall and winter research surveys. Following this, the FRCC will hold a full round of public consultations in Newfoundland, and the Council will give stakeholders in Québec and the Maritimes an additional opportunity to comment on these stocks prior to forming its advice to the Minister.

Stakeholders are invited to make public presentations by way of oral presentation or by providing a written brief: FRCC, P.O. Box 2001, Station D, Ottawa, ON K1P 5W3, phone (613) 998-0433, fax (613) 998-1146, internet www.ncr.dfo.ca/frcc.

The challenge for groundfish conservation and sustainability is great for all species. The Council bases its advice on sound conservation principles, and advocates a precautionary approach. The success of these consultations is of interest to all stakeholders. Your views are important and we hope you will participate fully.

Fred Woodman
Chairman


Questions for Discussion at FRCC Groundfish Consultations for the Gulf Of St. Lawrence

4T, 4Vn Cod
1. There are numerous reports that cod have been abundant in 1997 in many inshore ground, especially in the southeastern Gulf. What was observed in 1997 in midshore and offshore waters?
2. What indications are there regarding the presence of small (juvenile) cod in the Gulf in 1997? Are you seeing incoming recruitment? Should there be areas/times set aside in the Gulf for spawning or nursery areas?
3. How did the size and fitness of the cod observed in 1997 compare with normal expectations?
4. Do you believe there is sufficient spawning stock biomass to warrant a limited commercial fishery for 1998?
4RS,3Pn Cod
5. Fishermen and Scientists have observed that northern Gulf cod has been concentrated off western Newfoundland with very few signs of cod in 4S (Québec North Shore). What have you observed in 1997 from the limited commercial fishery in this area? Size, condition, abundance?
4T Hake
6. In recent years, the distribution of the hake resource has shrunk into an area between Eastern PEI and St.Georges Bay. Are the Hake still present in this area? In other areas?
7. What indications are there regarding the presence of small (juvenile) hake in the Gulf in 1997?
4T American Plaice
8. Fishery and survey information from recent seasons indicate that the abundance of plaice has dropped sharply on grounds in the western Gulf but there is little or no decrease in the east. What observations were made in 1997?
4T Winter Flounder
9. Efforts directed at Winter flounder have increased in some areas since the closure of the cod and hake fisheries and the lowering of the plaice quota. Blackback stocks are very localized and do not migrate far. What is your impression of the state of the blackback resource in your fishing grounds?
4RST Greenland Halibut (turbot)
10. In your experience what is the status of this stock in comparison to the fishery in the past ten years? How do catch rates per net compare in 1997 to past years when the fishery was conducted with 5.5 inch mesh as opposed to the current 6 inch mesh size? Should the mesh size be increased beyond 6 inches?
4RST Witch Flounder
11. What are your observations in this fishery in 1997 with respect to fish size, abundance and geographical distribution? Are additional measures needed, if any, to allow for the rebuilding of this stock?
Recreational Fishery
12. What have you observed with respect to the abundance of cod and what have you seen with respect to landings of juvenile cod in the recreational fishery? Are you seeing more or less cod than previous years and have you noticed any changes in size and condition? Are you catching more or less cod than in previous years? Are there sufficient controls on this fishery to limit abuses?
Science Priorities
13. The FRCC is mandated to provide the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans with recommendations on DFO science priorities. Are there specific issues you feel that need to be addressed, as research priorities, for groundfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence?