New Sustainability Assessment Makes Recommendations to Grow Northern Cod Stock

An independent assessment completed by SAI Global on behalf of WWF-Canada and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW-Unifor) confirms that the Newfoundland northern cod stock has grown significantly since 2006, but cautions that numbers are far below what they were during the peak commercial success of the fishery.

In 2015, FFAW-Unifor, the Seafood Producers of Newfoundland and Labrador, Fogo Island Co-op and WWF-Canada agreed to work together to rebuild the fishery off Newfoundland’s northeast coast, also referred to as area 2J3KL, through a Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP).

The multi-year collaborative project is designed to improve the fishery so that it may one day reach the sustainability benchmark set by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The project has the support of the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture as well as Oceans and Fisheries Canada.

Comparing the fishery’s performance against 28 indicators of the MSC Fisheries Standard, the assessment identified several issues. A FIP Action Plan will be developed to address the following:

  • The rebuilding timeframe for the stock must be established.
  • Target reference points must be determined.
  • Explicit harvest control rules must be established.
  • Estimates will be required for the recreational cod catch.

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