FRCC’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GROUNDFISH STOCKS OFF NOVA SCOTIA, OFF NEWFOUNDLAND, AND REDFISH
January 14, 2021
Halifax, NS -- The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) today released its annual advice to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for 2003/2004 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 Council’s report recommends the continuation of tough conservation measures for many of the groundfish species in these areas. Although the short-term outlook for many of the species remains a concern, the Council has noted two significant improvements in the stocks: the 3Ps cod off the South-East coast of Newfoundland and the 4X5Y haddock off Southwest Nova Scotia.
Cod in area 3Ps is showing spawning biomass growth and very good recruitment. 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 TAC levels.
The Council has also taken advantage of the November and December consultations in Newfoundland to discuss a Fisheries Resource Conservation Plan for 3Ps cod. Subject to completing consultations, the Council will complete a plan that is expected to result in a long-term approach to the sustainable harvest of the cod resource for this area.
Haddock stocks in areas 4X5Y have also shown positive signs of recovery. The gains have led the Council to recommend an increase in the Total Allowable Catch to 10,000t for the next two fishing seasons. The good news regarding this haddock stock is somewhat overshadowed by the lack of growth in 4X5Y cod. The potential high level of cod by-catch in the haddock fishery remains a concern to the Council.
In 2000, the Minister set a 6,000t TAC for this cod stock for each of the next three years, and asked the FRCC to monitor progress with a view to achieving a target spawning stock biomass by the end of that time period. Scientific Review this year was unable to determine the level of Spawning Stock Biomass. It is likely, however, that the 40,000t biomass was not attained and this, according to industry and scientists, may in large part be a result of mis-reporting and discarding of cod.
The Council is suggesting that total removals of 4X5Y cod do not exceed 6,000t for 2003-2004. It is also recommending that DFO and industry develop a proper enforcement plan to address the serious conservation problems noted during consultations.
The report also continues to recommend small quotas for a number of species to allow industry to establish scientifically-based test fisheries. The Council continues to believe that modest Index Fishery and Sentinel Fishery programs provide valuable information about the resource. The Council notes however, that more dialogue between fishermen and scientists should take place to ensure the usefulness of this data.
The Council would also like to flag industry’s increasing preoccupation with factors that, other than harvesting effort, also affect the rebuilding of these resources. In addition to the concerns regarding consumption of groundfish by seals, industry and other stakeholders also noted the potential impacts of such factors as environmental changes and seismic exploration.
The Council’s key recommendations for 2003/2004 are:
The Council recommends maintaining the TAC at 15,000t for 2003/2004 and continued work to further the long-term Fisheries Resource Conservation Plan.
For 2003/2004, the FRCC recommends a decrease of the TAC to 15,000t for the next two fishing seasons.
The Council recommends that total removal not exceed 6,000t for 2003-2004 and that DFO and industry develop an acceptable enforcement plan prior to the harvest.
The Council recommends an increase in the TAC to 10,000t for the next two fishing seasons.
For 2003/2004 the FRCC recommends maintaining the TAC at 10,000t.
The Council recommends that a Sentinel and Commercial Index fishery continue, for which total removals from the Commercial Index portion not exceed 100t. 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 Atlantic halibut stock assessment was not completed in time for review and consultations. The Council will therefore provide advice on halibut at a later date.
The Council has recommended the following TACs for redfish in 2003/2004:
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 2002. This letter sets out potential consideration for areas of priority raised in the 2001 letter to the Minister. The letter included the following areas of attention:
The full text of the report is available on the FRCC’s website at: www.frcc.ca