Welcome to Sustainable Fisheries

Are Cod and Redfish Endangered?

Several valuable commercial fish species in Newfoundland and Labrador, including Atlantic cod and redfish, are being considered for threatened or endangered status.The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has recommended Fisheries and Oceans protect select populations of Atlantic cod, American Plaice, deep water redfish and Acadian redfish under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

COSEWIC's recommendation is based on a population decline of cod of 97 to 99 per cent off Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland over the past 33 years, and a 76 to 89 per cent population decline in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the south coast in 3Ps over the past 30 years.The province’s largest fisheries union(FFAW) is asking the federal government to reject the COEWIC recommendations. Union President Earle McCurdy said recent scientific assessments of key cod stocks do not support the COSEWIC recommendation.

Meanwhile George Rose, a former federal fisheries scientist who has studied cod for decades, said while stocks are not as plentiful as they once were, they are not nearing extinction.

TAGS: cod, COSEWIC, endangered, George Rose, Earle McCurdy


MSC suspends certification for Faroese Atlanto-Scandian herring

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has withdrawn certification of the Faroese Pelagic Organization (FPO) Atlanto-Scandian herring fishery. In December 2012, the annual coastal states meeting resulted in a disagreement on TAC allocation key and Faroe Islands did not sign the Coastal States agreement for 2013. Nevertheless, the agreement was signed by other Coastal States (EU, Iceland, Norway and Russian Federation) and the Parties agreed to set aside a quantity of 31,940 tonnes for the Faroe Islands based on the sharing arrangement agreed between the Parties in Oslo 18 January 2007. The dispute on TAC allocation for 2013 raised the question on whether the FPO AS herring fishery still meets the MSC Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fisheries. After a March review meeting t. It was concluded that the fishery would remain certified, but subject to an expedited audit should new information with ‘material differences to certification status become available.  On the 26th of March 2013, the Faroese Ministry of Fisheries announced its intention to raise its national catch ceiling for AS Herring to 17%. The size of the AS herring quota set aside by the Faroe Islands (105 200 tonnes) was  significantly higher than the share allocated to them by the Coastal states sharing arrangement (31 940 tonnes).

A MSC review concluded that the FPO Atlanto-Scandian Herring fishery does not meet the MSC’s scope requirements (Principle 3, Criterion A1): “A fishery shall not be conducted under a controversial unilateral exemption to an international agreement." The certificate for this fishery was suspended effective immediately.

TAGS: sustainable, fisheries, Marine Stewardship Council, Faroe Islands, herring, MSC certification suspended


Farmed Fish Production Overtakes Beef

There was a time when aquaculture was seen as a minor adjunct to the production from the wild fisheries. That has changed dramatically in recent decades. According to the Earth Policy Institute, in 2011 for the first time in modern history, world farmed fish production topped beef production. The gap widened in 2012, with output from fish farming—also called aquaculture—reaching a record 66 million tons, compared with production of beef at 63 million tons. And 2013 may well be the first year that people eat more fish raised on farms than caught in the wild.

But is this increase in aquaculture production sustainable? Farmed fish like salmon and shrimp are carnivorous species that eat fishmeal or fish oil produced from forage fish from the wild. Yet most forage fish stocks (think anchovies, herrings, and sardines), which typically make up about a third of the world oceanic fish catch, are dangerously overharvested. In the rush to meet world demand, the share of farmed fish being fed has increased because they can reach market size quickly. Norway, the world’s top farmed salmon producer, now imports more fish oil than any other country. China, the world’s leading shrimp producer, takes in some 30 percent of the fishmeal traded each year.

If aquaculture is to be sustainable we need to reduce the dependence on forage fish and fish oil. Readmore on this issue at: http://www.earth-policy.org/plan_b_updates/2013/update114

TAGS: sustainable, fisheries, aquaculture, Earth Policy Insitute


Canada's Patrol Ship Fiasco

The Arctic is assuming increasing prominence as an area of national interest for Canada. As the ice melts and other countries jockey for position in the Arctic, Canada needs to assert a greater presence in the Arctic. The Harper Govt announced a couple of years ago its intention to build 6-8 patrol ships capable of operating in the Arctic as well as a major Arctic icebreaker.  A CBC news investigation has revealed that Canada will be paying though the nose for these patrol ships compared with the prices that other countries have paid recently for similar vessels. Apparently  Ottawa will pay Irving Shipbuilding $288 million just to design — not build — a fleet of new Arctic offshore patrol ships.  A study  of other countries shows they paid a fraction of that $288 million to actually build the ships — and paid less than a tenth as much for the design. The design of Canada's new ships is based upon a Norwegian vessel whose design Ottawa has already bought for just $5 million. Denmark acquired two patrol ships for $105 million in 2007. The Irish navy now is building two offshore patrol ships for $125 million. These facts indicate that Canadian taxpayers are being fleeced by this process. An ad by Irving Shipyards did little to counter that notion.

TAGS: sustainable fisheries, patrol ship fiasco, Arctic patrol ships, Irvings, government waste


Joe Oliver-a national disgrace

Harper's Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, continues to make a fool of himself as he jets around fighting to get pipelines approved. While in Washington he launched an attack on noted climatologist James Hansen and was appropriately ridiculed for doing so. This week while in Europe he announced that Canada would fight the EU in the WTO  if the EU proceeds with a fuel-quality directive that singles out crude from Canada’s oil sands as the most harmful to the planet’s climate. And this at a time when the Harper govt is anxiously trying to conclude a free trade deal with the EU. The following day Oliver was forced to issue a retraction by the denizens of PMO. There aren't too bright lights in the current Harper cabinet. Oliver is certainly not one of those few. There are recurring rumours of a cabinet shuffle soon to revive the Harper govt's flagging fortunes. Let's hope that Oliver is kicked off the bus when that happened.

TAGS: sustainable fisheries, climate change, Joe Oliver, pipelines


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