October 24, 2020
FRCC Recommends Building the Bridge Towards Re-Opening of Fisheries
St. John's - The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) today recommended the cautious and prudent low level re-openings of commercial cod fisheries in 3Ps (southern Newfoundland), 3Pn4RS (eastern and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence) and 4TVn (southern Gulf of St. Lawrence and Sydney Bight).
The recommendations were contained in the FRCC's fifth comprehensive report to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for 1997 conservation requirements for Atlantic groundfish stocks. The mandate of the Council is to advise the Minister on the conservation and sustainability of Atlantic fish stocks.
"The title of our report, Building the Bridge, speaks to the challenge of moving from moratoria to the sustainable harvest of groundfish stocks" stated Fred Woodman, Chairman of the FRCC. He further noted that "the criteria the Council used as a basis for its recommendations are built on three pillars of conservation: the adoption of the precautionary approach, expanding our knowledge of fish stocks, and effective management of the resource.
The recommendations for Total Allowable Catches (TACs) will allow for the continued rebuilding of these stocks. However, the FRCC does not wish this report to be interpreted "as a green light, as many stocks remain at low levels", Mr. Woodman cautioned.
"The challenges ahead for fishermen and managers have never been greater. Both
must come to terms with the difficult decisions involved in carefully managing small
quotas" Mr. Woodman explained. "This report cannot emphasize enough the need for
all involved to adopt a strong conservation attitude as fisheries re-open and to act upon
this attitude with solid conservation measures".
The Council believes that, in some areas, there has already been a move towards a more cautious, conservation-oriented approach to groundfish fisheries and applauds the fishermen, managers and scientists who have laboured over the past years to achieve it-their leadership and perseverance has brought about innovations in fishing practices and changes in attitudes. Still, these have not been embraced by all, and much work remains to be done to rebuild fish stocks and ensure their sustainability.
In developing its recommendations to the Minister, the FRCC reviewed the latest scientific data, the results from sentinel surveys, and thoughtfully considered all of the information gathered through its extensive public consultations.
"The approach offered in our report, and the conservation measures many have begun to put in place over the past few years, represent important steps toward ensuring that the fishery of the future never mirror the fishery of the past".
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