Green­land hal­ibut quota in­crease to boost fish­ing jobs in N.L.

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - EDITORIAL -

AA small in­crease in the to­tal al­low­able catch (TAC) of Green­land hal­ibut will pay big div­i­dends for fish­ing com­mu­ni­ties in New­found­land and Labrador, ac­cord­ing to the Ground­fish En­ter­prise Al­lo­ca­tion Coun­cil (GEAC).

At the an­nual meet­ing of the Northwest At­lantic Fish­eries Or­ga­ni­za­tion (NAFO) in Mon­treal this week, all con­tract­ing na­tions agreed to an 11 per cent TAC in­crease of the species, rais­ing it to 16,500 met­ric tonnes.

“The bulk of this re­source is lo­cated along the deep-wa­ter slope of the con­ti­nen­tal shelf very near to the 200-mile limit,” Bruce Chap­man, one of Canada’s two in­dus­try com­mis­sion­ers to NAFO, said in a press re­lease is­sued by GEAC.

“Canada’s 36 per cent share of this TAC trans­lates into 6,000 mt for 2018.”

The re­lease notes al­most all of Canada’s quota is held by li­cense hold­ers from New­found­land and Labrador.

“While most of Canada’s quota is al­lo­cated to sea­sonal small-boat har­vesters, the 31 per cent share held by year-round offshore har­vesters will help se­cure both at-sea and on-shore jobs,” said Ocean Choice In­ter­na­tional (OCI) chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Blaine Sul­li­van.

“OCI will re-in­vest the rev­enue from this op­por­tu­nity into New­found­land and Labrador com­mu­ni­ties.”

There are pro­jected fluc­tu­a­tions in the num­ber of small fish poised to en­ter the fish­ery, which means the in­crease may be short-term, the re­lease notes.

“Green­land Hal­ibut caught and frozen at sea re­ceives a pre­mium from in­ter­na­tional cus­tomers,” said Al­berto Ware­ham of Ice­wa­ter Seafoods, lo­cated in Arnold’s Cove.

“Qual­ity is key in over­seas mar­kets and this species, with its nat­u­rally oily flesh, is most de­sir­able as a frozen-at-sea prod­uct. Hav­ing the abil­ity to sup­ply this pre­mium qual­ity prod­uct en­ables the prov­ince to im­prove its over­all ex­port value from this fish­ery, another ex­am­ple of ben­e­fits as­so­ci­ated with hav­ing a bal­anced fish­ery.”

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