SEA-NL calls on Ottawa to lift mackerel moratorium; at least match U.S. quota for 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, Feb. 2nd, 2022

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on Fisheries and Oceans to lift the moratorium on Atlantic mackerel in 2023, and set a quota at least equal to the total allowable catch (TAC) set this week by the United States.

“It’s a senseless sacrifice for Canadian mackerel fishermen to remain under a moratorium when their U.S. cousins have never stopped fishing,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

The CBC reports that earlier this week the United States set the 2023 TAC for Atlantic mackerel at 3,639 tonnes,  a 27% decrease from that country’s 2022 quota of 4,963 tonnes.

Meanwhile, Canada slapped a moratorium on the same Atlantic mackerel stock last year, and Ottawa has yet to announced whether there will be a commercial fishery this year.

SEA-NL first called on Ottawa in late December to lift the moratorium on Atlantic mackerel for 2023, and set a quota to at least match what U.S. fishermen are allowed to fish.

DFO’s science on Atlantic mackerel has been relatively weak, with even less data without fishermen on the water.

Fishermen reported unprecedented schools of mackerel along Newfoundland’s northeast coast right up to January, with pictures posted all over social media of dead or dying fish washed up on beaches.

Enterprise owners speculate cold water temperatures killed the mackerel. DFO would not allow the fish to be collected for bait.

SEA-NL has also called on DFO to allow enterprise owners to renew the licenses regardless of whether there’s a moratorium or not. Ottawa has refused.

Contact Ryan Cleary: 682 4862