MONCTON, NB, Aug. 19, 2022 /CNW/ - tlantic herring plays a vital role in Atlantic Canada's economy and ecosystem. The southern Gulf of St. Lawrence fall herring stock in particular provides employment for more than a thousand people in rural New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. However, at the same time the population must be managed in such a way that can help regenerate the stock.
The southern Gulf of St. Lawrence fall herring stock remains in the cautious zone. However, the number of spawning adults is declining, and recruitment is at the lowest level ever observed. Stronger management actions are needed to help the stock mature, reproduce and rebuild for the benefit of rural coastal communities.
Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Joyce Murray, announced that the 2022 total allowable catch (TAC) for the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence fall herring stock will be 10,000 tonnes, a decrease from the TAC of 12,000 tonnes, which has been in effect since 2020.
This decision will help reduce pressure on this stock, while recognizing the needs of communities and harvesters who depend on this fishery for jobs and bait.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) will begin consultations with harvesters, Indigenous communities and other partners to responsibly rebuild this stock to the healthy zone over time, including consideration of how seal predation impacts this stock.
"The southern Gulf of St. Lawrence fall herring stock has been in decline for more than a decade, further action is required to protect this stock, so harvesters can continue fishing it in the near and distant future. By reducing fishing pressure and getting a head start on a rebuilding plan, we are giving more spawning fish the best chance to continue growing and reproducing, which I expect will lead to positive changes."
The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Food, social and ceremonial fisheries will not be impacted by this decision.
Atlantic Herring in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence is composed of two genetically distinct stocks, spring and fall, which are assessed separately.
Herring is an important food source for other species, including Bluefin tuna and Atlantic cod.
The southern Gulf of St. Lawrence fall herring stock has been in the cautious zone since 2017. To promote stock recovery, DFO reduced the TAC from 22,500 tonnes in 2019 to 12,000 tonnes in 2020 and 2021.
In addition to fishing pressures, low recruitment, high natural mortality, declining weight-at-age, and continued environmental changes are impacting the stock.
SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada
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