Cod limit set too high, WWF-Canada says | WWF-Canada

Cod limit set too high, WWF-Canada says

Posted on 15 June 2018
Atlantic cod
© Jarrett Corke / WWF-Canada
ST. JOHN’S, N.L., June 15, 2018 — World Wildlife Fund Canada is concerned after Fisheries and Oceans Canada ignored scientific evidence in its newly released plan for management of the northern cod stock. The 2018 catch limit for the 2J3KL Northern Cod Stewardship fishery is set at 9,500 metric tons, a reduction of about 25 per cent from 2017 levels, but still double the 2015 quota when the northern cod population was at the same level it is now. 

WWF-Canada fears the reduction, though significant, will not create the conditions for recovery for the stock, which is experiencing high natural mortality. 
Sigrid Kuehnemund, vice-president of ocean conservation for WWF-Canada, says:    
“We’re troubled that Fisheries and Oceans Canada has decided against a precautionary approach to managing the northern cod stock this year. We know the ecosystem is in a state of low productivity and that the cod stock is experiencing high natural mortality, so WWF-Canada hoped to see an approach to management that took those important factors into consideration. In 2015, the take for this stock from the stewardship fishery was about 4,400 mt. We’re struggling to understand why the catch was set at twice this amount in 2018, when the stock has fallen to 2015 levels and its growth trajectory puts it deep in the critical zone.” 
About northern cod   
In March 2018, WWF-Canada called for caution following news that the spawning stock biomass declined 29 per cent in 2017. WWF-Canada, which has been working in Newfoundland and Labrador on a fishery improvement project (FIP) for northern cod, urged Fisheries and Oceans Canada to prioritize the species’ recovery by:  
  • Giving consideration to ocean conditions, climate change and the health of other fish species, such as capelin, when making decisions about management of the fishery. 
  • Implementing harvest-control rules for the northern cod fishery to guide how removals from all sources can be kept at the lowest possible level until the stock clears the critical zone. 
  • Monitoring the recreational fishery.  
WWF-Canada has been working on a 2J3KL northern cod FIP with FFAW-Unifor. The comprehensive action plan for a sustainable future inshore cod fishery was released in December 2016. 
About World Wildlife Fund Canada 
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit 

Catharine Tunnacliffe, communications specialist, +1 647-624-5279  
Atlantic cod
© Jarrett Corke / WWF-Canada Enlarge