Atlantic Groundfish Council emphasizing sustainability and the gradual rebuilding of south coast cod stock

Today, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) held a technical briefing on the latest science assessment for the 3Ps cod stock, located off the south coast of Newfoundland. This briefing will be followed up by Groundfish Advisory Committee meetings in January, where industry stakeholders will further discuss the stock with DFO before Canada and France meet in March to negotiate a Total Allowable Catch for the 2024-2025 3Ps cod season.

This year’s stock assessment was similar to past years and in the absence of a DFO research vessel survey in 2023, relies on data from 2022.

“Scientific projections show a continued growth of the stock, but at a slow pace,” explained Vanessa Byrne, Director of Fisheries Management and Science with the Atlantic Groundfish Council. “As 3Ps cod remains in the Critical Zone and as we await more recent data at next year’s assessment, our members will stay the course of continuing to collaborate with DFO and other industry stakeholders toward rebuilding the stock.”

The Atlantic Groundfish Council is continuing to coordinate a Fishery Improvement Project specific to 3Ps cod that is supported by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, a global non-profit that operates in part to rebuild depleted fish stocks.

Icewater Seafoods President and CEO, Alberto Wareham, is patient and focused on the long-term, when it comes to the growth of 3Ps cod. “Even with a low-level fishery, 3Ps cod is a core component of our annual operational plan and helps keep our 200 local employees working nearly year-round. We buy 3Ps cod from local harvesters and know it is an important part of their livelihoods as well,” added Wareham. “We are able to produce high-quality cod for premium market customers with high sustainability standards. We continue to strongly believe in the future of the cod industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

For the last number of years, 3Ps cod has – appropriately – been a low-level fishery while the stock is in the Critical Zone and natural mortality remains high. Besides the benefit to harvesters, plant workers, and communities, this catch provides information that is vital to the robustness of current and future scientific assessments.

As participants in the cod fishery, Ocean Choice International is committed to sustainable harvesting, investing in research, and supporting science. Company President Blaine Sullivan, whose family has been fishing cod for generations, reflects, “While Newfoundland and Labrador is fortunate to have a variety of species off its shores, creating a diverse fishery, the cultural significance of cod is undeniable. Contributing to the rebuilding of cod stocks off our shores, and seeing cod play a bigger role in the livelihoods of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, is something we are deeply committed to as a company and as a family.”


About the Atlantic Groundfish Council
The Atlantic Groundfish Council is a non-profit industry association representing year-round groundfish harvesters in Atlantic Canada. Its members employ thousands of people, mostly in 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.