THE HEAD of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union in Newfoundland and Labrador has said that the federal and provincial governments are not doing enough to support and rebuild a cod fishery in the province.
Earle McCurdy, in an interview with the CBC, says both governments should plan for the return of the provincial commercial cod fishery. “Not only do we need to rebuild the stock, but also to rebuild the industry,” McCurdy said. “What we're hoping to do is get a balanced approach that looks at how we rebuild the stock while at the same time starting to build back the industry.”
McCurdy added that research commissioned by the province showed that fish are bigger and there are more of them out there.
In a statement, the province’s fisheries and aquaculture minister Derrick Dalley, said that cod stock continued to remain at low levels since the moratorium passed in 1992, which saw the closure of the cod fisheries in the Gulf of St. Laurence and on the south coast of the province. “While limited growth has allowed for some fishing in these areas, the stocks continue to remain far below historical levels,” Dalley said.
Dalley added that in 2003 the federal and provincial governments developed the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Action Team for Cod Recovery, intended to develop recovery and long-term management strategies for the cod stocks. Research has also been commissioned, in addition to inshore tagging projects targeting distribution and projects on northern cod and northern St. Laurence river Cod in conjunction with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the FFAW, and the investment of nearly $13 million to establish the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystem Research at the Marine Institute, Dalley added.
Dalley said that in spite of all the commentary, there is work ongoing. “We are optimistic a recovery of groundfish stocks is occurring, and the information we continue to gather will make it a more informed discussion when the time comes,” Dalley said. “We look forward to results from the recent survey completed by DFO, as well as the analysis of work undertaken by CFER this past year.”
Dalley added the provincial government will partner with academics, the science community, industry and others involved to enhance the understanding of fish stocks in Newfoundland and Labrador, ensuring conservation and economic benefit.
A telephone message left with the DFO seeking comment was not returned. McCurdy told the CBC that he hopes the DFO will release survey results in the next couple of months.