FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nov. 10th, 2017
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is out to destroy the inshore fishery off Newfoundland’s south coast with its decision Friday to reopen the cod fishery to offshore factory-freezer trawlers.
“DFO has given the offshore draggers permission to clean up the last of the south coast cod,” says Ryan Cleary, President of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL).
“It’s obvious that corporate interests outweigh the interests of inshore harvesters and the fate of rural communities,” he added. “Twenty-five years after the northern cod moratorium and the Government of Canada has learned nothing about fisheries management. Ottawa’s actions are disgraceful.”
DFO issued a notice late Friday afternoon advising harvesters that a directed cod fishery off Newfoundland's south coast (fishing zone 3Ps) will open to offshore draggers (the over 100-foot mobile fleet) on Saturday, Nov. 11th.
The cod quota off the south coast was set earlier this year at 6,500 tonnes, exactly half 2016’s 13,000-tonne quota (although only 7,000 tonnes of fish were caught).
The size of Individual Quotas (IQs) to inshore harvesters didn’t change, but with a severe downturn in the crab fishery off the south coast more inshore harvesters rely on cod to keep them afloat.
FISH-NL took the stand earlier this year that the offshore fleet should be banned completely from the 3Ps fishing zone.
“The draggers destroyed our cod fishery in the first place, and the draggers will do it again” said Wayne Meade, an inshore harvester from Grand Bank. “The offshore boats will still be allowed a 10 per cent halibut bycatch, which the inshore wasn’t allowed. It’s ridiculous all around.”