Press Release

May 24, 2020


Ottawa, ON -- The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) released today its annual advice to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for 2000/2001 conservation requirements for groundfish stocks on Georges Bank and for northern cod.

The Council’s advice is to increase cautiously total removals for the Georges Bank haddock and yellowtail flounder stocks. This positive advice for the Atlantic fishery is tempered by recommendations to decrease total removals of Georges Bank cod and to decrease the catch of northern cod.

"The Council is cautiously optimistic about the prospects for Georges Bank haddock and yellowtail flounder," said Mr. Fred Woodman, Chairman of the FRCC. "The rebuilding in these stocks has been quite dramatic. It is time to be careful and see if the gains we have achieved in these stocks can be transformed into long-term sustainable benefits."

"We are concerned however about the continuing decline of the Georges Bank cod stock: despite the efforts of the Council and industry, we have yet to see any strong production of young fish in this stock."

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

"The northern cod stock was by far the largest cod stock in Atlantic Canada: today, it is only a dismal remnant of what we had," said Mr. Woodman.

The report underscores the need to maintain some fishing effort 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. While the Council supports wholeheartedly the sentinel fishery for this stock, it also recognizes that this fishery is insufficient to gather enough data given the huge geographic area covered by the stock and the relatively small catches in the sentinel fishery. The Council also cautions that only fisheries that contribute to this information gathering should be pursued for this stock.

During its consultations in April in Newfoundland, the Council heard overwhelmingly from the 800 fishermen in attendance about the impact which seals are having on the recovery of the northern cod. The Council agrees with fishermen that predation by seals is negatively impacting recovery of the stock, and has provided advice on the management of seal predation which builds on its 1999 advice on seals.

The Council’s key recommendations for 2000/2001 are:

5Zjm cod

The Council has not been able to achieve its previously stated conservation objectives in the Georges Bank cod stock. The Council has provided advice on this stock which allows the mixed cod/haddock fishery to continue: such a fishery will prolong the recovery of the cod stock, but will not unduly harm the cod stock, 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 2000, the Council recommends total removals of 5Zjm cod of 2,000t.

5Zjm haddock

The FRCC recommends that total removals of 5Zjm haddock for 2000 be set at 6,000t

5Zjmhn yellowtail flounder

The FRCC recommends that total removals of 5Zjmhn yellowtail flounder for 2000 be set 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 7,000t.

For northern cod, the FRCC also recommends:

A complete version of the report can be found on the FRCC’s website at:


For information:
Michel G. Vermette
Executive Director, FRCC
(613) 998-0433