January 16, 2021
FRCCS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GROUNDFISH STOCKS OFF NOVA SCOTIA, OFF NEWFOUNDLAND, AND REDFISH
St. Johns, NF -- The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) released today its annual advice to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for 2002/2003 conservation requirements for groundfish stocks off Nova Scotia (Areas 4VWX5Y), and off Newfoundland (Areas 0, 2+3), including cod on the south coast (3Ps).
The Councils report recommends the continuation of tough measures for the cod fishery in 3Ps. Closed areas and seasons, and measures to avoid targeting both very young and older breeding fish are included as a suite of conservation measures to be applied to this fishery.
"Last year, we talked about the need for the fishing industry to change its attitudes and practices to ensure a sustainable fishery. This has not occurred,"said Fred Woodman, Chairman of the FRCC. "As soon as a conservation measure is put into place, some industry participants lobby for relaxation of the measure. This is not conservation, and it is unsustainable."
Last year, the Council provided advice for the next two fishing seasons for 3Ps cod. Total Allowable Catches of 15,000t for each of these years were recommended. This report reaffirms those catch levels.
"The FRCC believes that the development of a long-term Fisheries Resource Conservation Plan for this stock will assist in achieving targets for this fishery which include catches at levels significantly higher than the current 15,000t level. It is for this reason that the Council has begun to consult with the fishing industry to develop such a long-term plan," said Mr. Woodman.
The report also continues to recommend small quotas for 3Ps American plaice and 2+3K redfish to allow industry to establish scientifically-based test fisheries. It is the Councils hope that such test fisheries will allow the collection of data about these stocks which DFO Science has been unable to provide the Council.
The report sees little improvement in the status of groundfish stocks off Nova Scotia. It also urges fishermen and DFO to provide information on the landings of flatfishes, and better management of by-catch fisheries so that they do not become disguised directed fisheries.
The Councils key recommendations for 2002/2003 are:
The Council recommends maintaining the TAC at 15,000t for 2002/2003.
For 2002/2003, the FRCC recommends maintaining the TAC at 20,000t.
In 2000, the Minister set a 6,000t TAC for this stock for each of the next three years, and asked the FRCC to monitor progress toward achieving a target spawning stock biomass by the end of that time period. The Council is unable to determine whether the 40,000t target will be achieved and recommends that a scientific stock assessment be conducted on this stock in 2002.
The Council recommends maintaining the TAC at 8,100t for 2002/2003.
For 2002/2003, the FRCC recommends maintaining the TAC at 10,000t.
The Council recommends a commercial index fishery, for which total removals, including the sentinel fishery and bycatches in other fisheries, should not exceed 275t, and that the feasibility of conducting an acoustic survey of 4Vn cod be evaluated. The Council also continues to recommend that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans evaluate measures to protect juvenile groundfish in the Bird Islands area, including measures to exclude seals.
The assessment of this stock in 2001 did not contain abundance estimates. While there are some positive indications in this stock, it is precautionary to maintain the status quo and reassess stock indicators in the future. For 2002/2003, the FRCC recommends maintaining the TAC at 1,150t.
The Council is disappointed that follow-up work on recent scientific information has not been conducted as has recommended. This work is especially important in understanding whether the Unit 1 & 2 management units are appropriate, and it is imperative that work on stock definition be a priority for DFO Science. The Council has recommended a 2002/2003 TAC of 8,000t for Unit 2 redfish reflecting the strategy the Council adopted last year. For Unit 3 redfish, the Council recommends maintaining the TAC at 9,000t. For 3O redfish, although the Council recommends a TAC of 10,000t, it is increasingly concerned about unregulated fishing of this stock by foreign nations.
Included in the report is a letter on priorities for DFO Science which the Council provided to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in November 2001. This letter sets out the Councils views on three issues the FRCC believes are priorities for DFO Science:
Michel G. Vermette
Executive Director, FRCC