October 14, 1997 



Ottawa -- The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) released today its annual advice to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for 1998 conservation requirements for Grand Banks, Labrador Shelf and Davis Strait groundfish stocks other than cod.

The FRCC carefully considered the views of stakeholders at consultations in Deer Lake and Clarenville as well as the recent scientific information for Newfoundland groundfish stocks from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, including the results of summer sentinel fisheries.

Chairman Fred Woodman noted that many concerns were expressed about the effects of the deepwater gillnet fishing for Greenland halibut. "Unaccounted fishing mortality, float-outs and the potential for ghostfishing through net loss are grave conservation issues, and the Council calls for immediate steps to be taken to remedy this problem." Mr. Woodman cautioned that there are some signs of good recruitment in the Greenland halibut fishery, but "if we continue to fish without correcting the problems associated with fishing gear, we’re headed for trouble. "

With respect to lumpfish, the Council again recommends that measures be taken to control effort in this fishery. Mr. Woodman stressed that "the strong measures implemented last year to control effort must be continued." The FRCC also recommends the gathering of information for lumpfish through the establishment of an Index Fishermen Program to better determine spawning patterns, growth and maturation rates, population structure, and temperature and habitat preferences.

The lack of recruitment in the flatfish and flounder fisheries, particularly witch flounder and American Plaice, continue to be disturbing. The Council remains concerned that, as these species move to deeper waters outside the Canadian zone, they become targets for bycatch in the Greenland halibut fishery.

The Council feels that the conservation measures recommended for 1998 for Newfoundland groundfish stocks will allow for continued rebuilding of these stocks.

The FRCC will provide separate advice to the Minister on cod stocks in 2GH, 2J3KL, 3Ps, 4TVn, 4RS,3Pn, and 4VsW in March 1998. DFO Science will be conducting a full zonal assessment of cod stocks next February, which will include the results of sentinel fisheries and fall and winter research surveys. Once the Council has received the results, the FRCC will consult again with Newfoundland stakeholders to hear their views on cod stocks prior to forming its recommendations to the Minister on 1998 conservation requirements for Atlantic groundfish stocks.


For information:

Lisa Tenace
Client and Public Relations
FRCC Secretariat
(613) 998-1144