Accusations that our sector fishes during the spawning season have been verified to be completely false by DFO. In DFO’s stock assessment of NAFO subdivision 3Ps cod, page 4 of each document clearly identifies spawning season as late March to early June. This fishery is open to all sectors through February. (See http://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/365434.pdf and http://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40597441.pdf).
Once this info was clearly presented, the union changed their criticism from spawning only to add “pre-spawning aggregation”, in a constant attempt to eliminate the offshore’s participation in the fishery. There is no identified term or timing associated with what a pre-spawning aggregation is. In reality, it can be anytime that’s not spawning. It should also be noted that inshore mobile gear vessels fish the same areas at the same time of year using the same gear.
There is no scientific evidence that there is a conservation problem in harvesting over-wintering (pre-spawning) cod when they are in their peak quality condition. Claims made otherwise are irresponsible.