Recre­ational cod fish­ery gets ex­ten­sion

The Compass - - NEWS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

For the most part, the an­nounce­ment of an ex­ten­sion to the recre­ation cod fish­ery is being viewed as a step in the right di­rec­tion.

As the news fil­tered out, there was a pos­i­tive rum­ble amongst the cou­ple dozen of peo­ple who came out for the an­nounce­ment in Heart’s De­light Is­ling­ton

How­ever, there was some stand­ing on the James G. Reid Memo­rial Ma­rina Fri­day morn­ing that won­dered why Min­is­ter of Public Ser­vices and Pro­cure­ment Judy Foote couldn’t ex­tend it longer than the 14 days an­nounced.

“I ex­pected to hear we were go­ing to get some­thing like the rest of At­lantic Canada,” said Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton res­i­dent Lou Soo­ley. “The 14 days is good news for us, but I’d like to see a lot more. It should open June or July right till the end of Septem­ber.”

A soft west­erly wind blew across the wharf as Foote – stand­ing in for Fish­eries Min­is­ter Hunter Tootoo — made a pair of an­nounce­ments.

“As in the past, the fish­ery will run for three weeks in the sum­mer and one week in the fall,” said Foote. “But this year, the fish­ery will also be open on all week­ends.”

Those week­ends will in­clude the Canada Day and Labour Day long week­ends. Break­ing it down, the fish­ery will run from July 16 to Aug. 7, as well as from Sept. 24 to Oct. 2 — a to­tal of 46 days.

The event was not with­out a mi­nor dis­rup­tion. When the floor opened for ques­tions from the me­dia, one res­i­dent voiced his dis­plea­sure with the an­nounce­ment.

He called it a ‘joke’ and ques­tioned why New­found­land’s sea­son couldn’t em­u­late those of the other At­lantic Prov­inces.

“Four­teens days is what they looked at in re­gards to the stock,” said Foote. “We want to make sure that we don’t do any­thing at this point in time that will harm the stock. What we’re do­ing is do­ing it in in­cre­men­tal stages. The 14 days al­low ad­di­tional week­ends which I think is re­ally im­por­tant. That’s what I’ve heard from peo­ple talk­ing to me.

“We’re go­ing to be look­ing at this again. We’re look­ing for in­put … as to whether we should go fur­ther from this. This is one step, give us time to work with the depart­ment and the gov­ern­ment to bring it along to where it should be.”

The same man­age­ment mea­sures re­main in place. There is a five fish daily limit and a max­i­mum of 15 per boat, with no high-grad­ing or dis­card­ing of other ground­fish, as well as no fish­ing in closed times.

Those ex­panded dates also ap­ply to the recre­ational ground­fish fish­ery along Que­bec’s lower north shore.

The in­crease in fish­ing days can be ap­plied to tour boat op­er­a­tors, as they’ll be able to ap­ply for a li­cense for in­creased trip lim­its. Th­ese li­censes can pro­vide in­for­ma­tion that’ll help DFO track the num­ber of cod peo­ple catch un­der the new reg­u­la­tions.

Im­proved safety was also men­tioned as a pos­i­tive off­shoot of the in­crease in fish­ing days. Those head­ing out on the wa­ter now have more room when it comes to choos­ing which days they fish on.

There was some talk of a tag sys­tem, but the min­is­ter in­di­cated that there were no plans to im­ple­ment one this yea. It could come as early as next year.

It is not known whether there will be a fee for it.

“The ur­gency right now was that we ex­tend the fish­ery as we were asked to do,” said Foote. “It’s an in­cre­men­tal step in look­ing at where we take this next year.”

PHOTO BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COM­PASS

Min­is­ter of Public Ser­vices and Pro­cure­ment Judy Foote (mid­dle) an­nounced changes to the recre­ational cod fish­ery on Fri­day at the James G. Reid Memo­rial Ma­rina in Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton. She was flanked by Long Range Moun­tains MP Gudie Hutch­ings (left) and St. John’s South-Mount Pearl MP Sea­mus O’Regan.

PHOTO BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COM­PASS

Min­is­ter of Public Ser­vices and Pro­cure­ment Judy Foote (right) speaks with res­i­dents at the James G. Reid Memo­rial Ma­rina in Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton on Fri­day.

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