Newfoundland and Labrador Harvesters Call for Reestablishment of Northern Cod Stewardship Fishery

Tuesday, July 2, 2024 – St. John’s, NL – On the 32nd Anniversary of the historic Northern cod moratorium, fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador are calling for an immediate return of the Northern Cod Stewardship Fishery, following an announcement from the federal government earlier this week that they plan to return the important species to commercial status and allow offshore draggers to access the stock.

“As a province, we are demanding the federal government return our important northern cod resource back to a stewardship fishery and ensure the species is protected as it continues to rebuild,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in writing in 2015, that the 115,000mt commitment from 1982 would be protected, and that inshore harvesters would be the primary beneficiaries of the northern cod stock. But here we are at a quota of around 19,000t and the Trudeau Government is already letting the offshore draggers back onto the water,” Pretty says. “We need to protect our plant workers, our owner-operator harvesters, and the long-term sustainability of our coastal communities.”
The Union that represents over 10,000 professional, owner-operator fish harvesters in the province is demanding the government return to a stewardship fishery, reaffirm the commitment to ban offshore draggers until 115,000mt, and re-implement all 2023 fishery rules.
“Reverting back to a stewardship fishery is the only way forward here,” says Inshore Council member Glen Winslow, who also participates on the internal working group for 2J3KL northern cod. “This fishery needs to be protected for generations to come, and breaking the 115,000mt promise and allowing draggers back in already is going to do irreparable harm to our fishery, our coastal communities, and our province as a whole,” Winslow says.
Harvesters say the stewardship fishery should remain in place until the 115,000mt threshold is met, and at which time the offshore dragger group could be permitted access to the fishery. Until that point, the inshore, owner-operator fishery and Indigenous groups should be the only beneficiaries of the historical and economically critical fishery.
The Union is asking all concerned citizens to sign the House of Commons e-petition 5057 asking for a return to the stewardship fishery and to reaffirm the 115,000mt commitment, which the FFAW expects to be published on the HoC petition website on July 2, 2024. The petition has been authorized by MP Lisa Marie Barron of British Columbia.
“The inshore fleet has ample capacity to fish this stock and breaking promises and permitting environmentally destructive draggers is counterintuitive to the Government of Canada’s mandate. As a province, we will not sit by and let it happen,” concludes Pretty.
For media inquiries, please contact Courtney Langille at [email protected]or at 709-576-7276.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.