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FOPO Committee Report

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East Coast Report (1998)

Recommendation 9

The Committee recommends that Canada immediately turn its attentions to gaining control over fish stocks that lie on Canada’s Continental Shelf, on the grounds that foreign nations are currently overfishing the stocks on the nose and the tail of the Grand Banks and on the Flemish Cap and that those stocks rightfully belong to Canada and could keep many fish plants open year round, while still maintaining appropriate conservation standards.

Recommendation 10

The Committee, having been persuaded by the testimony of the fishermen and overwhelming evidence reviewed of the large role played by the federal government in the collapse of the northern cod stock, finds it incumbent upon the federal government to support the fishermen and those whose jobs were directly affected because of the downturn of the fishery on the east coast of Canada. This support should include:

a) The continuation of TAGS up to at least the date of the original written commitment of May 1999.

b) The immediate redirection of foreign fish quotas to Canadians with priority given to those fishermen and fish plants most heavily affected by the downturn and collapse of the fishery off the east coast of Canada.

c) The continuation of the voluntary TAGS retirement program and the voluntary TAGS licence buy-back program for all cases that reduce fishing capacity.

d) A rearrangement of the income clawback level for fishermen receiving TAGS to mirror the system used under the EI program.

e) A reduction of licence fees and related charges recently increased by the federal government affecting fishermen out of all proportion to their ability to pay.

f) A new federally-funded, multi-year infrastructure and job diversification program, administered under established practices which must be directed towards the people most affected by the downturn in the east coast fishery and which must have community input. Canadianization of the fishery should be a major target area.

Recommendation 15

The Committee also recommends that a conference between fishermen and scientists be organized by DFO immediately to air publicly the evidence concerning the types of fish that seals eat, and if the fishermen are proved to be correct, as the Committee believes they are, to make recommendations to increase seal quotas and to foster the sealing industry and the marketing of seal products. This conference should be open to the public.

Recommendation 17

The Committee recommends that DFO organize a conference between fishermen and scientists, fully open to the public, to resolve the dispute over the cod counting methods and to determine the set of conditions that would permit the reopening of the northern cod fishery.

Recommendation 19

The Committee recommends that DFO be subjected to an independent review of the methods by which it sets total allowable catches and manages fisheries.

Recommendation 201

The Committee recommends that senior DFO personnel who are viewed by the fishing community as being responsible for the crisis in the fishery be removed from the Department.

Seal Report (1999)

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends the formation of a panel of eminent persons, similar to the Independent Review Panel on Northern Cod (the "Harris Report"). The purpose of the panel would be to evaluate the current state of scientific knowledge and to provide advice on a long-term strategy for the management of seal populations.

The panel must develop a five-year strategic reduction and utilization plan and report on items, including but not necessarily limited to the following:

 scientific methodologies for estimating seal populations;  
 scientific methodologies for estimating the total magnitude of the hunt including unreported losses and best estimates of the long-term impact of the hunt on seal populations;  
 the current state of knowledge about the diet of seals and the impact of seal consumption on cod and other commercial fish stocks and to provide advice on directions for improving the state of scientific knowledge in this regard; and  
 the optimum size of the harp seal population in terms of its interaction with the ecosystem in general and with commercial fish stocks in particular and guidance with respect to management of the harp seal herd in order that such a population size can be achieved.  

Recommendation 2

The Committee recommends that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans conduct both experimental harvests and experimental seal exclusion zones. These should include the 2J3KL (northern cod) fishery, the 4TVn (southern Gulf of St. Lawrence cod) fishery, and the 4RS3Pn (northern Gulf cod) fishery and others as deemed necessary for the purpose of preventing the expansion of seals into the fishery, designated bay, or area. This measure is designed to protect spawning and juvenile cod concentrations and prevent seals from inflicting high mortality.

Recommendation 12

The Committee recommends that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, in cooperation with the sealing industry, provincial governments, and the Government of Nunavut, undertake to establish a long-term strategy for the management of the seal populations. The strategy should be informed by the recommendations of the panel established to evaluate the status of scientific knowledge with respect to the harp seal population.

Atlantic Fisheries Issues (2003)

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans revisit his decision to impose a moratorium on the 2J3KL and 3Pn4RS cod stocks and that the Minister give serious consideration to the conservation measures recommended by the Newfoundland and Labrador All-Party Committee and the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council.

Recommendation 5

The Committee recommends that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans conduct another round of groundfish licence buyouts; and

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans consider the feasibility of cancelling groundfish licences that are deemed to have been inactive for two or more fishing seasons.

Recommendation 7

The Committee recommends that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans properly fund scientific research and that results be made available both to fishermen and the public as soon as they are available.

Recommendation 8

The Committee recommends that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans provide some financial support to the Fishermen & Scientists Research Society with a view to promoting mutual understanding between scientists and fishermen; and

That the Department of Fisheries and Oceans consider promoting similar societies in other regions of the country.

Recommendation 9

The Committee recommends that, where possible, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans encourage the use of sentinel fisheries and that it ensure that they are adequately funded.

1There was a dissenting opinion from four members of the Liberal government on this particular recommendation.