DFO Releases Guidelines for 2023 Stewardship Cod Fishery

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) recently released the conservation harvesting plan (CHP) for the 2023, 2J3KL cod stewardship fishery on the heels of announcing a rollover of last year’s 12,999-tonne maximum authorized cod harvest.

Within NAFO division 2J, the season is scheduled to open on Sunday, July 23 and will close on Saturday, October 14. Within 3KL, the season will open on the same date and run through to Saturday, November 4. As in previous years, harvesters will have the option to change their fishing area outside of their homeport. Anyone who does not select their preferred option will receive authorization to fish based on their homeport.

All fishing limits are weighted in round weight. Within 2J, the bi-weekly catch limit has been set at 30,000 pounds up until September 2, after which it will be 40,000 pounds until the season’s end.

Within 3KL and the 4R overlap areas, the weekly catch has been set at 3,850 pounds until September 9, at which point it will be raised to 8,500 pounds bi-weekly until November 4. However, to promote the distribution of catch, harvesters will have the option to fish in the fall from September 10 to November 4 in 3KL with a biweekly limit of 17,000 pounds.

The minimum size for cod, as set forth by DFO, is 45 centimetres (equal to 18 inches). Areas where more than 15 per cent of cod caught fall under this size will be closed.

DFO wants to remind those participating in the fishery that logbooks must be filled out for all fishing trips for the entire season, during which the logbook must be produced for inspection at the request of a fisheries officer.

A “completed and accurate” log must be submitted when the logbook is fully filled out or at the end of the season, whichever comes first. Harvesters in vessels under 35 feet must complete and submit the “Fixed Gear Logbook for the Less Than 35-foot Vessel Sector.” Vessels over 35 feet are required to submit the “General Fisheries Log.”

Within 2J, the maximum number of nets allowed onboard a vessel or in the water is 34. Starting September 3, the maximum authorized amount will be raised to 40 nets. Within 3KL, the maximum authorized number of nets is six up to and including August 12, after which the maximum number of nets will be reflective of authorized catch limits as follows:

  • Authorized catch limits up to and including 3,850 pounds allow for nine nets
  • Catch limits greater than 3,850 pounds up to and including 7,700 pounds allow for 12 nets
  • Catch limits greater than 7,700 pounds up to and including 15,400 pounds allow for 15 nets
  • Catch limits greater than 15,400 pounds up to and including 30,800 pounds allow for 24 nets
  • Catch limits greater than 30,800 pounds will allow for 30 nets

For vessels with longline gear, the maximum number of hooks allowed onboard or in the water at any given time in the 2J division is 15,000 up until September 2.

From September 3 onward, the number of authorized hooks changes to 20,000. In 3KL, 15,000 hooks are authorized up to and including September 9, after which 20,000 hooks will be authorized.

Any in-season adjustments to catch limits or seasons will be communicated to harvesters via DFO’s Notice to Fish Harvesters system after consulting with the industry.

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