FFAW-Unifor calls for more surveys of mackerel stocks amid fishing moratorium

ST. JOHN’S, NL — FFAW-Unifor is asking the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to find out if the moratorium on mackerel fishing is needed using scientific opportunities.

FFAW-Unifor calls for investment in new scientific opportunities as anglers report abundance of mackerel, despite Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray imposing a moratorium on mackerel fishing.

The union called the moratorium an unjustified and drastic measure that was not needed as fishermen say mackerel populations are increasing.

The union added that the department’s assessments and management plans do not reflect the knowledge of fishers.

“As fishers, we know that DFO significantly underestimates mackerel biomass,” said FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan.

The FFAW-Unifor alleges the department failed to address their concerns or take advantage of new opportunities to investigate the inventory and instead declared a moratorium.

“Announcing a moratorium on mackerel fishing without investing in new scientific opportunities is another example of how DFO would rather eliminate livelihoods than do the work that needs to be done,” Sullivan said.

“DFO continually fails to adequately assess species critical to Newfoundland and Labrador’s economy.

Fishermen have reported large numbers of mackerel visible from the surface and are struggling to reconcile DFO claims that mackerel are a species of concern, FFAW said in a news release.

Therefore, Sullivan asks DFO to invest in other stock survey opportunities.

“Minister Murray must commit to understanding this stock with comprehensive scientific assessments. The current understanding of mackerel is woefully inadequate, and we cannot let another season pass without taking action. »

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