FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Sept. 26th, 2017
The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans should increase the amount of gear inshore harvesters can use in the fall commercial cod fishery.
Earlier this year, DFO gave harvesters two options for fishing northern cod off Newfoundland’s east coast and Labrador for 2017: 1) fish the entire season at the weekly limit; or 2) fish only from Sept. 17th-Nov. 30th at double the weekly limit.
Harvesters who choose option one, and have one cod IQ (individual quota), can fish with six gill nets.
Harvesters who choose option 2, and who have three combined IQs (and many harvesters do), are essentially fishing six times the weekly limit, but are still limited to six gill nets.
“Why did DFO offer us the option of fishing more cod quota in the fall if they weren’t going to increase our gear limits?” asks Jason Sullivan, Captain of FISH-NL’s Under 40-foot fleet, and an inshore harvester from Bay Bulls.
“Why is DFO setting us up to fail?” he asked. “It seems like some sort of sick joke that’s being played on inshore harvesters.”
FISH-NL is calling on DFO to clarify the amount of gear harvesters are permitted to use in the fall fishery.
The weekly northern cod limit for most of September, October, and November has been set at 5,000 pounds.