The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced Wednesday that they would begin thorough assessments of northern cod stock in winter 2018. This project will progress for five years, with a budget of $2.75 million annually to determine the potential for a sustainable commercial industry.
This announcement comes 25 years after John Crosbie, Canada’s Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, declared a moratorium on fishing for Northern cod due to declining numbers.
While numbers have slowly been on the ascent in recent years, northern cod stock are still in the “critical zone,” according to a recent study.
Even with growing numbers, Karen Dwyer—a biologist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans—urges caution.
“The precautionary approach is what sets our advice. And our advice is that, because the stock still remains in that [critical] zone, fishing should be kept at the lowest possible levels.”
Twenty-five years after the commercial fishing ban, these assessments will work towards protecting Newfoundland and Labrador’s “iconic resource.”