Since 1994, Canada and France (in respect of Saint Pierre and Miquelon) have co-managed fish stocks, including cod in the 3Ps zone off the south coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Under the Procès-Verbal Agreement, the two countries meet annually to negotiate management measures, including the total allowable catch (TAC) of shared stocks in the North Atlantic.
Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Bernadette Jordan announced that an agreement in principle has been reached with France regarding 3Ps cod for the 2021 fishing season. Both countries intend to support a TAC of 1346 tonnes, a 50% TAC reduction from last year.
With the stock in the critical zone, a TAC reduction is seen as necessary and reduced fishing effort will allow the fishery to remain open, while promoting growth of the stock. This agreement on fishing levels has been reached despite Canada’s starting position for these negotiations being a recommendation for a zero directed fishery for 3Ps cod.
‘We know how important cod is to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, both economically and culturally. Currently, the best available science tells us that 3Ps cod is in the critical zone, and we need to act now,’ Bernadette Jordan said.
‘The reduction in TAC will provide some stability to the fishery, while helping protect the health of the stocks.’
In addition, Canada has committed to work with stakeholders and harvesters over the coming year to develop a rebuilding plan for 3Ps cod in advance of 2022 discussions, and to continue with full, robust, and comprehensive science assessments on this important species. This will help create a more sustainable fishery for future generations.
Canada and France have agreed in principle on a rollover of TACs for 3Ps witch flounder, Unit 2 redfish, and 3Ps Iceland scallop, and to maintain a moratorium for 3Ps American plaice.
Canada values the long-standing Procès-Verbal Agreement with France and intends to implement the negotiated outcomes of this year’s meetings.