Atlantic Groundfish Council’s reaction to Canada-France consensus to reduce south coast cod TAC by 50%

On April 1st, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced that an agreement in principle had been reached with France to reduce the south coast (3Ps) cod quota by 50% from last year, meaning a total allowable catch (TAC) of 1,346 mt.

Council members are relieved that a closure of the fishery was avoided, although this 50% reduction (on top of last year’s 55% cut) will be a challenge to manage.

The current stock assessment model is unstable and cannot be relied upon for consistent, reliable advice. The Atlantic Groundfish Council first expressed public concern with drastic changes to the Department’s assessment model for the stock when it was released in January 2020.

The Council and its members are pleased to see the Minister’s commitment to work with stakeholders on a rebuilding plan and to pursue a robust and comprehensive science assessment before the 2022 season.  The AGC looks forward to contributing to such discussions in a meaningful way that includes the use of external reviewers and experts to help improve DFO’s assessment methodology.