VANCOUVER, BC, Jan. 17, 2022 /CNW/ - Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Proactive conservation measures are critical to sustain a healthy Pacific prawn population today, and to restore abundant stocks for future generations. Close collaboration between the Government of Canada and harvesters is key to getting this important work done.
Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Joyce Murray, announced that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has released the draft 2022-23 Prawn and Shrimp by Trap Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) for a 30-day consultation period. The IFMP is developed each year and describes the proposed management measures for the upcoming season.
Feedback from the Pacific Prawn Fishermen's Association (PPFA) and prawn harvesters over the course of the 2020-21 season helped inform DFO's efforts to clarify existing regulations that apply to the practice of on-board freezing of prawns (known as prawn tubbing) in the commercial prawn fishery. For the 2022-23 Prawn and Shrimp by Trap season, harvesters may continue using existing containers to package frozen prawn tails in liquid, such as seawater, on-board their vessels. This decision gives harvesters adequate time to prepare for a transition to new standards for packaging frozen prawn tails in seawater on-board vessels in 2023.
For the 2023 season, DFO intends to update Conditions of Licence for the commercial prawn fishery to include requirements for the use of transparent packaging and a maximum packaging volume of up to 710ml – a size commonly used by industry– for packaging frozen prawn tails in liquid on-board vessels. This clarification in the Conditions of Licence will support DFO fishery officers' ability to readily determine the species, number, weight and size of the catch.
In the upcoming year, DFO looks forward to continuing discussions with industry and collaborating on the following measures to ensure the sustainability of the commercial prawn fishery:
Implementing a third-party monitoring program for prawns that are frozen in sea water.
Advancing work on the traceability of products through the development of labelling requirements for frozen products and the implementation of a tag requirement for live prawns.
"The draft 2022-23 Prawn and Shrimp by Trap Integrated Fisheries Management Plan continues our Government's ongoing commitment to enhancing the abundance of the Pacific prawn fishery for future generations. Through our consultations, we heard the need for predictability and were able to reach a workable proposal that provides the industry certainty, while ensuring the fishery's long-term sustainability."
The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard
BC Spot Prawns have been recognized by the OceanWise program as a "Sustainable" choice, and as a "Good Alternative" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program.
Size limits for whole prawns were first introduced in 1988, and a decade later, the size limit for prawn tails was introduced in 1998. These size limit regulations apply to all prawn species sold commercially. Monitoring and enforcing size limits within the commercial prawn fishery is critical as it helps ensure that prawns are being harvested in a sustainable manner.
710ml containers are a commonly used size by harvesters and processors. Implementation of this maximum size in 2023-24 allows those harvesters currently using larger sizes time to adapt.
Howe Sound closures to bottom-contact commercial and recreational fishing, including prawn by trap, within five sites also take effect today (January 17). This measure was taken to protect glass sponge reefs from gear deployment and the possible impacts of sediment plumes caused by gear placement near the reefs. Additional information on the closures can be found via Fishery Notice.
SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region
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