BACKGROUNDER: Misrepresentation of Offshore Decision on 3Ps cod in 1997

It is critical to correct the misinformation from lobby groups making false claims about the history of the cod fishery in NL, including a recent claim that when the 3Ps Cod quota is below 10,000mt, the offshore fleet is to be excluded from the fishery. This is completely false.

In fact, the year-round sector was a leader in the sustainability efforts of the stock in 1997 and continues to be today.

Offshore decision not to participate in the 1997 3Ps cod fishery:
1997 was the first year the 3Ps cod fishery was open following the 3Ps cod moratorium. Upon re-opening, the offshore sector did not feel the struggling stock was healthy enough to support a fishery at the level being proposed. Based on that concern, the offshore made the voluntary decision not to catch its quota with the hope this effort would offset pressure being placed on the stock.

It’s important to note that the offshore sector was allocated its quota by the Department but chose not to fish it. Even over 20 years ago, the offshore sector was putting concern for stock health and commitment to ensuring a sustainable fishery for future generations above short-term financial gains.

Inshore decision in 1997
That same year, the inshore overcaught its allocated catch by about 12%. So, the fish the offshore sector decided to leave in the water in the name of sustainability, the inshore arbitrarily and without any sort of authorization, decided to catch.  This made the sacrifice of the offshore sector superfluous to poor behavior by other sectors. It is unfortunate that the FFAW continues to prioritize maximizing catch over protecting resource sustainability.

2019 concerns and priorities
It’s concerning to see the year-round sector’s decision, putting the sustainability of the stock first and foremost, is being used against the sector by special interest groups. The FFAW, and now FISHNL, have twisted this 1997 offshore sector voluntary decision as a mandatory exclusion based on an imaginary number of 10,000mt when industry groups know that was never the case.

The Atlantic Groundfish Council, representing the offshore sector, continues to believe that inter-sector conflict is detracting from what should be the priority of all participants; building a sustainable and stable fishery for future generations.