Cod limit set too high, WWF-Canada says
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.
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 wwf.ca.
Catharine Tunnacliffe, communications specialist
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