Re­cov­er­ing cod means re­build­ing time

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - Sam Slade is the Lib­eral MHA re­spon­si­ble for fish­eries & aqua­cul­ture

Re­build­ing our cod fish­ery will not hap­pen overnight. It will take time, the best science, a strong strat­egy, ded­i­ca­tion and will­ing­ness to di­a­logue and col­lab­o­rate. But we must kick­start the process.

For over 23 year years, New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans have been part­ners in re­spect­ing a mora­to­rium on com­mer­cial cod fish­ing. In 2013, DFO de­vel­oped a three-year man­age­ment plan that al­lowed har­vesters to take 5,000 pounds of round cod. In 2016, a de­ci­sion will have to be made to main­tain this quota or in­crease it.

Given the re­ports over the past num­ber of years of nu­mer­ous cod dur­ing the food fish­eries and the sen­tinel fish­eries, I be­lieve the fed­eral gov­ern­ment should at least dou­ble this quota. We can­not wait 10 years, as has been sug­gested, to start the re­build­ing process, in­clud­ing in­fra­struc­ture, skills and mar­ket­ing. I en­cour­age any­one, in­clud­ing in­shore and off­shore har­vesters, to weigh in on this is­sue and to let DFO know di­rectly where you stand.

In the mean­time, I call upon the pro­vin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments to re­lease the draft re­build­ing plan for the north­ern cod com­mit­ted to be re­leased at the end of 2014. A sim­i­lar plan was ini­ti­ated for the south­ern New­found­land At­lantic cod stocks in fish­ing area 3Ps, where there is a com­mer­cial Cod fish­ery. A re­build­ing plan for north­ern cod will not only en­sure the sus­tain­abil­ity of the stock, but max­i­mize op­por­tu­ni­ties for har­vesters and pro­ces­sors.

Our cod fish­ery was once a sig­nif­i­cant part of our pro­vin­cial fish­ery. With our cod re­cov­er­ing, it must be a pri­or­ity of both lev­els of gov­ern­ment to en­sure that cod con­tin­ues to play an in­creas­ingly strong role in con­tribut­ing to the well­be­ing of har­vesters and coastal com­mu­ni­ties through­out the province.

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