Cod fac­ing ‘nat­u­ral mor­tal­ity’ or star­va­tion?

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Editorial -

Now that DFO has an­nounced that the cod stocks have de­clined due to “nat­u­ral mor­tal­ity” — a nice way of say­ing no one is re­spon­si­ble — I take the lib­erty of post­ing a few shots I took in 2017 to show what I call starv­ing cod and the con­tents of their stom­achs.

Not sure of other peo­ple’s ex­pe­ri­ences last year, but this is typ­i­cal of the cod I caught.

I can only speak for my­self. See the sea anemones and the black­berry (zoo­plank­ton) in one photo and I was sur­prised to find noth­ing but a welk in another cod.

So if cod have no good pro­tein food, such as bel­lies burst­ing with caplin, to make them fat with large, healthy liv­ers to sus­tain them through the win­ter, and they die, would this be clas­si­fied as “nat­u­ral mor­tal­ity” or star­va­tion? Al­ready many fish­er­men are urg­ing DFO to close the food fish­ery, which I agree should be more closely mon­i­tored to try and avoid abuse both by non­fish­ers as well as com­mer­cial fish­ers — but def­i­nitely not abol­ished as the so­lu­tion is more com­plex and the fault more widely dis­trib­uted.

David Boyd Twillingate

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