Capelin quota reduction important for sustainable ecosystems and fisheries, WWF-Canada says
Capelin (Mallotus villosus) spawning on a beach in Petley, Newfoundland, Canada.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L., July 4, 2018 — World Wildlife Fund Canada welcomes the decision by Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) to reduce the total allowable catch of capelin, an important forage fish species, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The 2018 quotas are a reduction of 35 per cent from 2017 in response to a recent DFO study that found a 70 per cent decline in abundance of capelin between 2015 and 2017.
Sigrid Kuehnemund, WWF-Canada vice-president of ocean conservation, said:
“Reducing quotas in the face of drastic population declines is a responsible decision by a government trying to build and sustain viable and healthy fisheries. Atlantic cod and other commercial species will not recover if they don’t have enough capelin to eat. By using an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, the DFO is trying to address a problem before it becomes worse, leaving more food in the water for hungry predators. We applaud this precautionary approach to protect not just commercial fish, but also the larger marine ecosystem of seabirds and marine mammals that they feed.”
- Capelin are a keystone species, playing an important role in the marine ecosystem as a food source for predators such as northern cod, whales and seabirds.
- Capelin can be seen “rolling” this time of year along beaches in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador where they spawn.
- DFO reported a 70 per cent decline in the abundance of capelin in the 2J3KL area off Newfoundland and Labrador between the 2017 and 2015 stock assessments.
- 2018 marks the first year that DFO has conducted a capelin survey in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
- This recent WWF-Canada Food for All report found that three-quarters of forage fish fisheries in Canada are being managed without adequate information. Recent efforts by DFO to survey capelin populations are a positive step toward filling a major data gap in our knowledge on this species.
- People living along the coast of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador can play an important role in identifying capelin spawning habitat and contributing to the conservation of this species by reporting sightings of capelin rolling to ecapelin.ca.
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.
For further information
Rebecca Spring, senior communications specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 647-338-6274