December 20, 2000

To stakeholders,

During the week of January 22, 2001, the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) will gather information from stakeholders on groundfish stocks in NAFO Areas 0, 2 + 3. This will assist the FRCC in making recommendations to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on groundfish conservation requirements for 2001/2002.

The FRCC will review the scientific assessments conducted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the results of the sentinel surveys and the commercial fishery, as well as other information. The Council will consult with interested stakeholders in the following locations:

January 22 St. John’s, Newfoundland - Delta St. John's
January 23 Marystown, Newfoundland – Hotel Marystown
January 25 Harbour Breton, Newfoundland – Lion’s Club
January 26 Clarenville, Newfoundland - Lion's Club

Meetings will begin at 9:00 am, and will consist of two parts:

Part One

The first part will be on the current status of the stocks, and will solicit information from industry regarding catch levels for 2001/2002. It will begin with short presentations of the most recent scientific information by scientists from DFO. The Council will then ask for information from stakeholders on the following stocks:

Haddock 3LNO
Redfish 2+3K
American plaice 2+3K
flounder 2J3KL
Greenland halibut 0B+1B-F
Greenland halibut 2+3KLMNO
Roundnose grenadier S-A 0
Roundnose grenadier 2+3
Cod 2GH
Cod 3Ps
plaice 3Ps
Haddock 3Ps
Pollock 3Ps
Skates 3LNOPs
flounder 3Ps

Some of the questions to which the Council will be seeking answers are :

Part Two

After a break, the Council would like to discuss long term planning for 3Ps cod. You may recall that I wrote to you in September 2000 outlining the Council’s plans to develop Fisheries Resource Conservation Plans (FRCPs) for Atlantic Canadian groundfish stocks. It is to develop such plans that we will hold this second part of the consultation sessions.

The development of FRCPs is a recognition of the need to develop the long-term approaches for Atlantic groundfish stocks contemplated in the Council’s mandate, and as outlined in the FRCC’s 1997 Groundfish Conservation Framework. Indeed, FRCPs represent the application, on an ecosystem basis, of the conceptual approach described in the Framework. This fits well with current initiatives to base fisheries management plans on clear and measurable conservation objectives. The Council has publicly stated its desire to work with stakeholders to develop such long-term approaches. You will recall that the Council’s recent reports on Redfish, on Gulf of St. Lawrence Stocks, on Georges Bank, and on Northern Cod, among others, have foreshadowed plans to develop long-term approaches for these stocks.

The Council’s mandate requires it to provide a mechanism for public and industry advice, and to integrate scientific expertise with the knowledge and experience of all sectors of the industry and develop a strong working partnership. Thus, the development of FRCPs, led by the FRCC, fundamentally involves the consideration of input from stakeholders, including fishermen, processors, scientists, fisheries managers, and conservation and protection personnel.

During this part of the consultation, the Council would like to examine questions such as:

The Council hopes these discussions begin the development of a long-term plan for 3Ps cod. Given the importance of the meetings, I have enclosed a copy of the most recent Stock Status Report released by DFO. Normally, the Council does not distribute this DFO document, but in this exceptional circumstance, we thought it best to include a copy for you.

The success of these consultations is of interest to all stakeholders in the fishery. Your views are important and we hope you will participate fully.

                                                                 Yours truly,
                                                                 Fred Woodman