Halifax, N.S. Sept. 15, 2011 – The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) released today to the Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, its report entitled, Towards Recovered and Sustainable Groundfish Fisheries in Eastern Canada. The report provides guidance for promoting the recovery of groundfish stocks (with an emphasis on cod) in Eastern Canada and the rebuilding of sustainable fisheries based on those stocks.

In order to fulfill its mandate, the FRCC consulted with stakeholders through various means, including; conducting 27 open consultations in communities across Atlantic Canada, Québec and Nunavut; facilitating a workshop focused on the precautionary approach attended by industry officials and other stakeholders; reviewing 26 written briefs submitted to Council; and holding discussions with biologists and managers from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

“The Council found its task to be complex and broad and this is reflected in the 31 recommendations made in the report,” noted Mr. Gerard Chidley, Chairman of the FRCC. “However, the Council believes that all of the recommendations will assist DFO in its efforts to promote the recovery of groundfish stocks and the rebuilding of fisheries based on those stocks.”

Among the recommendations, the Council supports the application of the precautionary approach to the management of groundfish stocks and encourages the swift completion of tasks related to the preparation of harvest strategy frameworks and recovery plans with increased industry collaboration and consultation.

The Council also feels that the Department should proceed as soon as possible with targeted grey seal removals in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence in order to test the hypothesis that predation by grey seals is the major factor preventing recovery of groundfish stocks in that area.

Additional recommendations focus on areas related to: the provision of data essential for management of fisheries; additional research effort to provide key information on the impacts of seals on groundfish recovery; ecosystem-based management including the management of forage species; governance issues such as the need to continue to promote shared stewardship and co-management and decision making which is transparent and accountable; modernization of the Fisheries Act; and the formulation of policies which will enhance industry economic viability.

The full text of the report is available from the OceansAdvance Website by clicking here OR byt loggin on to the FRCC’s website at the following URL:  http://www.frcc-ccrh.ca. -30-

For more information: Mike Calcutt Executive Director Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) (613) 998-0433