FISH-NL obtains copy of secret northern cod management plan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, Nov. 25th, 2016
The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has obtained a copy of the 2016 Northern Cod Management Plan, almost six months after the FFAW and a number of seafood processors pitched it to the federal government.
Ottawa approved the plan in early August, but the FFAW refused to release a copy to its membership — despite numerous public requests to do so.
“The stewardship plan is the most important document involving northern cod since the 1992 moratorium and not only weren’t fish harvesters consulted, the final plan was kept secret from them,” says Ryan Cleary, president of FISH-NL.
“The FFAW is a disgrace — choosing to consult with fish processors while ignoring its own membership. The union is more concerned with creating markets for processors to obtain record profits while harvesters continue to receive pennies on the pound.”
The one-year stewardship cod fishery plan sets the northern cod quota at approximately 15,500 tonnes, including a commercial catch of 12,600 tonnes and up to 3,500 tonnes for the food fishery.
The management plan eliminated Individual Quotas (IQs) in favour of weekly limits, and removed the requirement for harvesters to fish within their home bays. Harvesters around the province have complained they weren’t consulted before the plan was handed down.
The documents obtained by FISH-NL reveal that the northern cod spawning stock biomass in 2015 was pegged at 298,000 tonnes — almost 85,000 tonnes below the 1992 level that led to a 23-year moratorium on commercial fishing.
At the same time, there’s been an upward trend in the northern cod spawning biomass since 2012.