DFO decision on south coast cod fishery is consistent with principles of sustainable fisheries resource management and protects market access

(January 11, 2018 – St. John’s, NL) – Today, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced the closure of the 3Ps cod fishery (off the South Coast of Newfoundland) to the inshore fleet for the 2018-2019 season. The inshore sector has landed over 99% of its allocated catch and is expected to reach its full allocation by the time of closure, after choosing to catch the majority of its share of the Canadian quota during the spring, summer and fall months.

“DFOs decision is consistent with the principles of sustainable fisheries resource management in Canada and meets the expectations of global markets keenly focused on buying only responsibly harvested seafood,” explained Kris Vascotto, Executive Director of the Atlantic Groundfish Council.

The offshore harvesters wait to harvest their quota during the winter when quality is highest and inshore supply is limited. This timing enables the industry to meet the demands of premium European markets, meaning their harvesting for the season has just begun. The offshore fishing season, like all other sectors participating in the south coast cod fishery, concludes February 28, 2019 (or earlier if allocations are caught sooner). This ensures harvesting doesn’t take place during the spawning season, confirmed by DFO to be April through June.

Although the offshore sector accesses only 14% of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 3Ps cod, that small share goes a long way towards employment and stability for the industry.

“Our small share of quota is vital in extending employment for our 215 employees and securing premium markets that operate on year-round contracts,” explained Alberto Wareham, President and CEO of Icewater Seafoods in Arnold’s Cove. Although the plant relies on solely cod, Icewater is supportive of DFOs decision because of the unwavering commitment to sustainable fisheries management.

“We all rely on DFO to make the right decisions for the resource, all harvesters and the people who work onshore to support this industry,” added Blaine Sullivan, President of Ocean Choice International. “The commitment of the Department to rebuilding the stock and maintaining market share was clearly demonstrated today.”

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Sarah Fleming,
Director of Communications, Atlantic Groundfish Council,
709.725.5830, sfleming@atlanticgroundfish.ca

About the Atlantic Groundfish Council

The Atlantic Groundfish Council (formerly GEAC) is a non-profit industry association representing year-round groundfish harvesters in Atlantic Canada. Its members employ thousands of people, in mostly year-round jobs, in rural communities throughout Atlantic Canada. The Council contributes to research that will improve the sustainability and management of groundfish fisheries by actively supporting science, sustainability certifications and responsible management.