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Northern cod plan kept from harvesters, FISH-NL’s Ryan Cleary says

FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary
FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary

It’s another example of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union ignoring its membership, according to the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL).

Almost six months after the FFAW and a number of seafood processors pitched it to the federal government, the breakaway group says it has obtained a copy of the 2016 Northern Cod Management Plan.

Ottawa approved the plan in early August. Despite numerous public requests, the FFAW refused to release a copy to its membership, FISH-NL said in a news release Friday.

“The stewardship plan is the most important document involving northern cod since the 1992 moratorium and not only weren’t fish harvesters consulted, the final plan was kept secret from them,” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary said.

“The FFAW is a disgrace — choosing to consult with fish processors while ignoring its own membership. The union is more concerned with creating markets for processors to obtain record profits while harvesters continue to receive pennies on the pound.”

The one-year stewardship cod fishery plan sets the northern cod quota at approximately 15,500 tonnes, including a commercial catch of 12,600 tonnes and up to 3,500 tonnes for the food fishery. 

The management plan eliminated individual quotas in favour of weekly limits, and removed the requirement for harvesters to fish within their home bays.

Harvesters around the province have complained they weren’t consulted before the plan was handed down. 

FISH-NL says the documents it obtained reveal that the northern cod spawning stock biomass in 2015 was pegged at 298,000 tonnes — almost 85,000 tonnes below the 1992 level that resulted in the commercial cod-fishing moratorium. At the same time, there’s been an upward trend in the northern cod spawning biomass since 2012. 

 

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