No need for mackerel moratorium, say Atlantic Canada fishing groups
BThere is no need for a moratorium on mackerel.
This is the immediate reaction of some Atlantic Canada fishing industry groups to the March 30 announcement by DFO Minister Joyce Murray of the closure of the mackerel and herring fishery. spring this year. https://www.saltwire.com/atlantic-canada/business/dfo-minister-shuts-mackerel-spring-harring-fishery-down-for-atlantic-canada-100712484/
The Maritime Fishermen‘s Union (MFU), which represents more than 1,300 fishers in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, issued a scathing press release Thursday, March 31, saying it was “shocked” by what it called it a “radical decision” by Minister Murray.
UPM said it has made numerous recommendations to DFO over the past 15 years to help ensure the sustainability of mackerel and herring stocks.
“We have repeatedly recommended having fishermen on the water to keep science dependent on fishing,” MFU said.
“We lobbied to address gray seal predation. . . before further reducing our fishing. . . and talk about a moratorium,” the union added.
Further, the MFU said, the history of fishing shows that moratoria do not always help fish stocks grow and survive.
They cite the northern cod moratorium as an example. It has been 30 years since the Canadian government closed this fishery. These days, cod are fished off Newfoundland and Labrador with only 13,000 metric tonnes allocated last year to a stewardship fishery. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 180,000 metric ton quotas of the 1980s that fueled fish processing plants and provided income for inshore fishing boats and trawler crews.
The Fish Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) and the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) are generally at odds over fishing issues, especially when it comes to agreeing on prices.
This week, however, the two Newfoundland and Labrador organizations share the same sentiments on Minister Murray’s decision.
Both point to science gaps in DFO’s knowledge and science vessel breakdowns that have prevented scientists from carrying out their regular offshore multispecies trawl surveys. https://www.saltwire.com/atlantic-canada/business/vessel-breakdowns-created-data-gaps-for-cod-and-capelan-in-newfoundland-and-labrador-100706503/
“We’ve spent a lot of taxpayers’ money on new ships for our military, and it’s needed. But last year we missed the whole fall survey for 3LNO because of old vessels doing DFO science,” said ASP Executive Director Derek Butler.
He says new ships for an industry that contributes billions to the regional and national economy is a need that must be met.
“It’s the stakeholders who pay the price when these things happen,” Butler added. “When the science fails or the gear breaks down, or the distribution of fish changes, but we don’t follow it or invest enough to learn more.”
Both groups also expressed concern over the minister’s decision to allow a recreational mackerel fishery while excluding commercial fishers.
The mackerel moratorium, added FFAW President Keith Sullivan, “is just one more example of how DFO and…Murray would rather eliminate livelihoods than do the actual work that must be done.
“DFO continually fails to adequately assess every species critical to (NL’s) economy and fishers and plant workers will suffer,” Sullivan said.
Butler pointed out that in a recreational fishery, there is no accurate monitoring of what comes out of the water.
“Wouldn’t it make more sense to allow the commercial fishery to operate to support the livelihoods of those working in the industry, to support rural communities, and then to have a better sense of what is being taken out based on the total allowable catch? he said.
Sullivan called it “a complete slap in the face to those with reduced incomes.”
Robert Jenkins, president of the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA), also told SaltWire that the moratorium will impact fishermen in that province, adding that he has more to say. about this in the next few days.