The province’s largest fisheries union is asking the federal government to reject recommendations from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) to list cod and other species of fish as endangered.
The Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ (FFAW) union has long held the position that aquatic species should be removed from COSEWIC scrutiny under the Species at Risk Act.
FFAW president Earle McCurdy said in a news release the recommendation to list various populations of cod, redfish and American plaice as threatened or endangered is “dated, unnecessary and poorly thought out.”
“COSEWIC brings no new information to bear on the state of fish stocks,” McCurdy said. “They simply re-analyze information that has already been assessed by (Department of Fisheries and Oceans). Most terrestrial species that come under COSEWIC review are not protected by other federal legislation or agencies. But fish and shellfish species already have a whole department of government responsible for science, management and enforcement.”
McCurdy said recent scientific assessments of key cod stocks do not support the COSEWIC recommendation.
“The latest stock status report on northern cod, for example, describes a 15-fold increase in spawning stock biomass between 2005 and 2012,” he said. “Sentinel and stewardship fisheries in 2013 show continued increase in abundance, including abundance of large fish that had not appeared in research vessel surveys in previous years.”
The release states that in fishing area 3Ps (along the province’s south coast), the scientific assessment is that the spawning stock biomass is nearly the highest in a 30-year time series, and signs of recruitment of young fish are also very strong. Meanwhile, all indications are that there has been a significant resurgent of redfish stocks, yet COSEWIC is recommending a listing for this species as well.