Welcome to Sustainable Fisheries

NAFO- strengthened or more of the same?

According to DFO, "the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) adopted a wide range of enhanced measures to protect or rebuild key fish stocks in the Northwest Atlantic and to strengthen protection for vulnerable marine ecosystems." They claim that the total allowable catch decisions made at the 2012 meeting are in line with scientific advice and "the continued rebuilding of the 3M cod and 3LN redfish stocks is a clear indication that the Organization's efforts are paying off." There will continue to be no directed fishery for the following stocks: American plaice (Divisions 3LNO and 3M), capelin (Divisions 3NO), cod (Divisions 3LNO), northern shrimp (Divisions 3M and 3NO), and witch flounder (Divisions 3LNO).

DFO also claims that NAFO agreed to take "concrete and targeted actions to strengthen certain catch reporting provisions, particularly to improve the level of detail and precision of catch verification data for monitoring and compliance purposes, as well to improve the information systematically provided to the Scientific Council in order to support scientific advice."

Building on its incomprensible decision in 2009 to ratify proposed amendments to the NAFO Convention that weakened rather than strengthened NAFO, Canada urged all Contracting Parties who had not done so to ratify the amended Convention. So far  5 of 12 contacting parties have ratified the amended NAFO convention.

TAGS: sustainable, fisheries, overfishing, NAFO,


Fleet separation policy- Harper govt dropped plans to kill it

Update: On Friday, September 21st,three days after the publication of this post, Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield announced that the fleet separation and owner-operator policies would be retained. Kudos to the Atlantic fishermen and NDP and Liberal MPs who shamed the bullies into discarding their intention to repeal these policies. This shows that the Harper bully can be thwarted.

Despite intensive lobbying by Atlantic fish processors, it appears that the Harper govt is dropping its plans to kill the fleet separation poicy that has been in effect for decades, the legacy of former Fisheries Minister Romeo LeBlanc. Though the Harperites are not noted for paying attention to criticism of their proposals, widespread opposition from fishermen and fishermen's organizations has prevailed. The policy effectively prevents large companies from buying up fishing licences and leasing them back to local fishermen.

Conservative MPs are now admitting that fishermen are widely opposed to changing the fleet separation policy. Atl;antic fish processors who thought they would get their way and end fleet separation are angry at the apparent about-face by the Conservatives. Derek Butler, executive director of the NL Association of Seafood Producers , said that the Govt's failure to change the policy is “terrible news.” Butler's members favour a system where a handful of parties could control a much larger share of the fishery. Let's hope that the stories are true and that they will not get their way.

Thanks to the many opposition members who took up the fishermen's cause.

TAGS: sustainable, fisheries, Atlantic Canada, fleet separation, policy 



Moratorium means more than “Northern Cod”

Twenty years have past since the groundfish moratoria were declared. Most people think of one species and one groundfish stock when the word moratorium is mentioned. The word moratorium has become synonymous with the Northern Cod stock only. This is most unfortunate because while northern cod was our largest and most important groundfish stock, it represented only about 25% of groundfish landed. The magnitude of the groundfish collapse impacted much beyond Northern Cod.  

The groundfish moratoria devastated the rural economy of our Province. The most productive towns and communities in the industry were lost due to the groundfish collapse. These include Port aux Choix, Port aux Basques, Ramea, Burgeo, Hr. Breton, Gaultois, Fortune, Grand Bank, Burin, Marystown, Trepassey, Hr. Grace, Port Union and St. Anthony. In addition, many other communities lost the most important component of their economy. While the inshore groundfish industry was primarily based on cod, it seasonally provided substantially more employment for longer periods and contributed to the economy of many more communities than is currently derived from shellfish.

TAGS: groundfish,moratorium, northern cod, shellfish, rebuilding strategy, NL fishery


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Asian carp in the Great Lakes: how high the risk?

A binational report released by DFO stated that Asian carp could find hospitable conditions in all five of the Great Lakes if they gain a foothold.The report is based on a 16-month assessment of risk to the lakes from the invasive carp, which have infested the Mississippi Rivers and many of its tributaries. The threat is that carp will enter Lake Michigan through a Chicago-area waterway network. The analysis by U.S. and Canadian scientists says it could take as few as 10 male and female pairs to establish a population in the lakes if they find good spawning areas. It says more than 70 rivers across the Great Lakes could serve that purpose. The report suggests that the major ecological consequence resulting from the establishment and spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes would likely be an overall decline in certain native fish species, including some commercially and recreationally important ones. Such declines could occur because Asian carp would compete with prey fish that primarily eat plankton. This could lead to reduced growth rates and declines in abundance of prey fish species, and thus predatory fish would also likely decline.

TAGS: sustainable, fish, fisheries, fishing, Asian carp, Great Lakes


Death of Evidence: protesting Harper's assault on science

Taking advantage of a major conference in Ottawa, thousands of scientists marched on Parliament Hill today to protest what they termed the "Death of Evidence." The Grim Reaper led the way. The scientists were protesting the relentless and continuing assault by the Harper govt on science in Canada. The Harper govt is noted for basing its policies on ideology and political convenience rather than evidence. Whether it be criminal policy or environmental inaction the Harper has a consistent track record of ignoring evidence and shooting the messenger. Its cuts to DOE and Fisheries and Oceans are vivid proof of its disdain for those who seek knowledge and evidence-based decision making. Examples include the slashing of environmental monitoring, the closure of the world class Experimental Lakes research facility in northern Ontario and cuts to oceans and fisheries science. The recent jamming through Parliament of the Omnibus legislation that gutted the habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act and the environmental assessment process in an attempt to ensure swift approval of petroleum development projects for the govt's friends in big industry illustrate clearly this govt's contempt for evidence, facts and the views of everyday Canadians.

 A tip of the hat to the scientists who marched today! May the Opposition Parties renew the fight with vigour when parliament reconvenes!

TAGS: sustainable, oceans, fisheries, environment, Death of Evidence, Harper govt, fish habitat, Fisheries Act, environmental assessment


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