Common themes highlighted during recreational groundfish consultations
It was mostly more of the same as public consultations on the possible implementation of a new licensing and tags system for next year’s recreational groundfish fishery wrapped up in Marystown Nov. 21.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) held a total of eight sessions around the province throughout November.
The Marystown consultation and a session in Carbonear on Nov. 17 were added to the schedule on Nov. 10.
Patricia Williams, a resource manager with DFO, said a number of common themes came up time and again during the consultations.
“We are hearing a lot of concern about the use of tags – the proposed use of tags in a fishery – and whether or not DFO might have other alternatives to be able to control the total level of effort and understand the total amount of harvest in this fishery specifically,” she told The Southern Gazette after the meeting.
“Based on real good experience, people have suggestions about season, and if we were to lengthen the season and have a license, would we be able to maybe remove the daily bag limit and remove the trip limit that’s currently in place.”
It’s also clear from the hearings there’s a willingness to work under a licensing regime and provide information about catches, she said.
Many of the roughly 15 people in attendance in Marystown shared those same opinions.
Season length and daily bag limit were important for Marystown resident Devin Kilfoy, who works offshore on a shift rotation. Kilfoy said he doesn’t agree with a daily bag limit and suggested the season should start in June and run until the end of September.
“It’s very costly for me to take my kids out and I want a good day to be able to do it,” he said. “So in regards to that, I think we should be able to catch however many tags you guys give us – that’s how many we should be able to use on any given day until the tags are used up.”
Others individuals attending the meeting in Marystown said the recreational groundfish fishery has been practically non-existent in the 3Ps fishing zone, located along the province’s south coast, in recent years. It was suggested more flexibility could revive the fishery in the region.
“We’re hearing that comment repeatedly and we’re hearing it from a lot of different sources, that the numbers weren’t there in 3Ps, the activity levels are nowhere where they were 10, 15 years ago, 20 years ago,” DFO official Jerry Walsh said during the session.
The public consultations weren’t the only way for people to voice their opinions on potential changes to the recreational groundfish fishery. Written and emailed submissions are being accepted until the last day of the month.
A summary report will then be completed and posted online in the near future.
“There’s nothing decided yet,” Walsh pointed out early in the meeting.
Jerry Walsh and Patricia Williams, officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, were in Marystown Nov. 21 for a public consultation on the possible implantation of a new licensing and tags system for next year’s recreational groundfish fishery in the province.