January 9, 2021
FRCC’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR
Ottawa, On. -- The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) released today its annual advice to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for 2004/2005 conservation requirements for groundfish stocks off Newfoundland’s south coast (3Ps).
The Council’s report is based on new scientific evidence provided by Fisheries and Oceans Scientists and input from public consultations in Harbour Breton and Sunnyside, Newfoundland and Labrador. In its report last year, the Council had observed that the stock was showing spawning biomass growth and good recruitment. The growth in the biomass is due to recruitment of 1997-98 year-classes that are now observed in the commercial fishery.
Although the stock biomass is foreseen to increase over the short–term, the rate of growth is expected to be more modest than anticipated. Science has also reported that the stock is mainly supported by two strong year classes (1997-1998) and that the stock has yet to show indication of subsequent strong year classes. In the absence of good recruitment, the 1997-98 year classes are key to maintaining the fishery and contributing to rebuilding of cod in 3Ps.
Due to uncertain signals from a number of stock indicators, uncertainties raised in the scientific advice and the apparent low recruitment since 1998, the FRCC recommends that the TAC for 3Ps cod remain at 15,000t for 2004/2005.
The Council also noted an improvement in the proportion of the TAC taken from Placentia Bay. The Council feels however, that the removals from Placentia Bay should be further reduced to allow its sub-population to be harvested in a sustainable fashion.
Fishermen in 3Ps have requested that further consideration be given to a directed fishery for American plaice. The Council supports this request on the basis that DFO and industry work on assessing the potential for a directed fishery and its impact on the stock.
Although very few comments were received on other species, the Council notes that good market conditions and the downturn in the cod fisheries have resulted in an increased interest in monkfish. In fact, the harvest of monkfish has increased at an alarming rate over the last few years; going from 200t in 2000 to over 2800t in 2003. In its letter to the Minister, the Council questions whether the stock can sustain such a continued growth in fishing effort. The FRCC recommends that DFO work jointly with the monkfish harvesters and industry to assess the potential of the fishery and to evaluate management measures needed to ensure a sustainable fishery.
The full text of the report is available on the FRCC’s website at www.frcc-ccrh.ca