3Ps off­shore cod fish­ery brings win­ter work

Ffaw-uni­for calls for re­ver­sal of de­ci­sion

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - BUSINESS - BY MARK SQUIBB

The Depart­ment of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has an­nounced the open­ing of the 3Ps cod fish­ery as of Satur­day, Nov. 11.

For the 200 em­ploy­ees at Ice­wa­ter Seafoods plant in Arnold’s Cove, the de­ci­sion, an­nounced Nov. 10, is a guar­an­tee they will have em­ploy­ment over the win­ter months.

“We have a 12- to 14-week win­dow that we’re pri­mar­ily de­pen­dent on cod from off­shore 3Ps,” ex­plained Al­berto Ware­ham, pres­i­dent and CEO of the plant.

That win­dow, Ware­ham says, is from mid-novem­ber to early March. Fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment, work­ers should ex­pect to work through to early March as in pre­vi­ous years, Ware­ham says.

The de­ci­sion comes after months of un­cer­tainty fol­low­ing DFO’S May 23 an­nounce­ment of the open­ing of the cod fish­ery, which left those who de­pend on the off­shore fish­ery in the dark.

At the time of the an­nounce­ment, DFO told The Packet that it would en­gage with off­shore fleet rep­re­sen­ta­tives to “de­ter­mine an ap­pro­pri­ate way for­ward in light of the chal­leng­ing cir­cum­stances faced as a re­sult of de­clin­ing re­sources in a chang­ing ecosys­tem.”

The Fish, Food and Al­lied Work­ers (FFAW) union, how­ever, has called on DFO to re­verse its de­ci­sion, claim­ing its stock as­sess­ment was overly op­ti­mistic and the cod stock is too vul­ner­a­ble.

“This stock will be at its most vul­ner­a­ble in the com­ing months. Al­low­ing the off­shore to be­gin fish­ing on spawn­ing ag­gre­ga­tions is not only ir­re­spon­si­ble, it flies in the face of the sus­tain­abil­ity and con­ser­va­tion ob­jec­tives of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment,” FFAW pres­i­dent Keith Sullivan stated in a news re­lease is­sued Nov. 10.

Canada’s share of the to­tal al­low­able catch (TAC) for 3Ps cod was de­creased from 13,043 tonnes in 2016 to 5,486 tonnes in 2017 to ac­com­mo­date the de­creas­ing cod stock.

REBEKAH WARD/SPE­CIAL TO THE TELEGRAM

Ice­wa­ter Seafoods em­ploy­ees work on the floor at the high-tech Arnold’s Cove pro­duc­tion plant.

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