FOPO Committee Report
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That the Department of Fisheries and Oceans recognize and integrate in its stock assessments and management decisions the complexity of the stock structure of northern cod, particularly the distinction between inshore populations and offshore populations.
A reopening of a commercial inshore fishery limited by the following conditions:
That the re-opening be done on a baybybay basis with access based on historical attachment;
That the annual TAC be conservatively set at a level that would allow the biomass to increase, but that would also be sufficient to provide reliable data about the size of the stocks;
That, in the calculation of the TAC, landings from sentinel fisheries and bycatch in other fisheries be included;
That no fishery be allowed in known spawning areas during spawning times; and
That gear types be limited to least destructive methods and according to historical practices.
That, if it becomes clear that the stocks could also support a recreational fishery, recreational licenses be based on a no-fee, tags and compulsory logbook system;
The implementation of stringent management measures such as dockside monitoring of all cod bycatch landed by Canadian and foreign vessels in Canadian ports and the use of VHF transponder system (“black box”) for all commercial fishing vessels 45’ and over; and
The consideration of onboard monitoring.
That the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans commit to amending the Fisheries Act to deal with licence violations using administrative sanctions subject to appeal through arm’s - length - tribunals;
That, in the interim, the Attorney General of Canada instruct federal prosecutors involved in Fisheries Act licence violation cases to bring to the attention of the court, prior to sentencing, the total cost to the Canadian taxpayer of investigating and prosecuting the offence, and to push for the maximum penalty under the law at sentencing; and
That any financial proceeds forfeited as a result of a conviction for licence violations be used to support an enhanced dockside monitoring or some other equally important program.
That Regional Harvesting Councils or Bay Conservation Councils be established to enable resource users to have meaningful input into the management of coastal fisheries; and,
That fisheries management practices integrate systematically the collection of the knowledge, practices and observations from individual harvesters, and that this information be disseminated to the appropriate stakeholders.
That the planned $20 million cutback over three years (2004-2008) in DFO ‘s budget for Science program activities, particularly with respect to the “Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture” strategic outcome, be reconsidered, and that an immediate reinvestment in cod science be made.
That there be more studies on cold-water deep-sea corals and sponges. DFO should remain open to the option of using section 4 of SARA to protect sensitive habitat on the Nose and Tail of the Grand banks should a potential candidate for listing be found.
That the Government of Canada restate clearly its support for the UN General Assembly resolution 59/25, and do everything it can to enforce the resolution.
That Canada protect sensitive groundfish habitats from bottom trawling, halt any further expansion of the bottom trawl fleet into new fishing areas, and ensure that all areas currently closed to trawling do not re-open, nor further expansion be permitted, until adequate risk and impact assessments have been completed.
That DFO, as a matter of policy, consistently restrict the use of any harvesting technology where and when it is determined to be having a negative impact on the sustainability of a species. DFO should also establish sanctuary areas to protect the sustainability of species in areas and at times when they are most vulnerable.
That DFO commission a comprehensive study to assess the ecological impacts of bottom trawling inside Canadian waters as well as the economic impact of a moratorium on this technology.
That the federal cabinet decide not to add northern cod to the list of “endangered” species under the Species at Risk Act.
That the Government of Canada aggressively promote the expansion of markets for harp seal products; and,
That DFO increase the commercial quotas for the seal harvest in accordance with market conditions.