DFO Rejects FFAW Working Group Proposal for Buddy Up in 2J3KL Northern Cod, Harvesters Forewarn of Offshore Draggers Coming 

June 14, 2024, JOHN’S, NL – Despite an overwhelming majority voting in favour of buddy-up in cod, late yesterday afternoon DFO advised the FFAW that buddy-up will not be implemented in 2J3KL for the 2024 season. Harvesters fear that DFO is failing to manage the fishery in a way that supports the continued economic success of coastal communities in Newfoundland and Labrador and warn that the Department is threatening to allow offshore draggers access this fishing season.

“Owner-operator fish harvesters who rely on the cod fishery have systematically and democratically worked over the last several months to find ways to improve our northern cod stewardship fishery, for the economic feasibility of the 2J3KL fleet,” says FFAW-Unifor Greg Pretty. “This fleet determined that the way to move forward was approving buddy-up but including important criteria that would ensure the fishery lasts more than a few days,” Pretty explains. “Moreover, harvesters are very fearful that the Liberal Government is positioning themselves to give away the northern cod resource to offshore draggers this fishing season,” Pretty says.

The FFAW’s proposal states that to be eligible for buddy-up, a license holder must have had landings (including landings for personal use) in two of the last five years. The reason for this is that of the 2,431 cod licenses in 2J3KL last year, over 600 were inactive. Buddy-up has the potential of activating those inactive licenses, leading to a shorter fishery and lower landings for those who invested in the cod fishery.

“Our Union has grave concerns that DFO and the current Liberal Government have plans to provide offshore cod quota to draggers this season,” Pretty warns. “We’ve been tipped off that these Liberal MPs who are on their way out are looking for ways to give their corporate buddies a leg-up before they move on, sacrificing our communities, and historical commitments along the way,” Pretty says.

The FFAW Cod Working Group met last night to review the Department’s decision and discuss next steps. The Working Group was adamant that the participation criteria is a critical piece of the cod buddy-up proposal: it is what the fleet voted on and it will not be changed. Further, there was a requirement for past participation when buddy up was introduced in crab and the Working Group is simply asking for a consistent approach in cod. The Working Group, FFAW-Unifor as a whole, and all inshore commercial harvesters are wholly adamant that no northern cod quota be allocated to offshore groups, per the 115,000mt commitment.

The Working Group is hoping to meet with DFO over the coming months to talk about implementation of the policy for the 2025 season and to reiterate the importance of the participation criteria.

“Inshore harvesters hope to see more support for the inshore fleet in the coming decision from Minister Lebouthillier on access and allocation of 2J3KL Northern cod than what was shown in this decision on buddy-up. Inshore harvesters have historically had and expect to maintain access to the first 115,000mt of Northern cod. It was this fleet that worked to rebuild Northern cod and will not stand idly by while politicians in Ottawa grant access to offshore and international players,” Pretty warns.  “Demonstrations that took place this spring will seem like a walk in the park compared to what can be expected if the federal government throws out their commitment to giving cod to anyone but inshore and Indigenous groups,” he concludes.


Courtney Glode (she/her)
Director of Public Affairs

T: 709-576-7276

M: 709-743-4445
368 Hamilton Ave.

St. John’s NL A1E 1K2

[email protected]



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