Wednesday, March 29, 2023

After consuming the lobster fishermen of the reefs

Lobster prices are likely to jump again this coming season because of the decline in mackerel populations and the closing of the spring herring fishery, two fish that are commonly used as bait.

Last year, the Atlantic mackerel fishery was closed, as was the spring herring fishery, which put additional pressure on the fishermen’s expenses.

There is no indication that 2023 will be any better.

“When the suspension of herring and mackerel fishing was announced last year, fishermen were able to draw on bait from the previous year.” There, all these stocks have been sold, so we really fear a big economic impact if the ban on mackerel is renewed,” Martin Mallet, general director of the Maritime Fisheries Union (UPM).

And these challenges could last for some time.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said this week that mackerel stocks have recovered despite a fishing suspension last year.

“They are still in the critical zone, explains Elisabeth Van Beveren, a researcher at the Maurice Lamontagne DFO Institute, located in Monte-Jol, Quebec. According to the last assessment we did, we got things worse.”

According to Ms. Van Beveren, lizard stocks have performed poorly since 2011 and federal data indicates that the situation is caused by fishing activities.

Fishermen worried

The DFO’s assessments, presented this week in Halifax, have concerned many stakeholders in the fishing industry.

Fishermen’s associations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec are particularly concerned that DFO will move the mackerel fishery again this year.

The implementation of measures to reduce the impact of fishing – especially the co-management agreement on stocks with the United States of America, better control of the sealing population, and more suitable tools to avoid unwanted capture – could avoid the risk next time.

Martin Mallet believes that it is possible to set a regional quota of 2,500 tons (10% of the biomass that is capable of being produced) without any loss of mackerel populations’ ability to recover.

“It is difficult, the stake is shared with the Americans. If we have a moratorium and they have the right to fish, they go out to catch the fish we leave in the water, lament Mr. Mallet. We are being doubly penalized because we can’t fish and our fishermen who need to stop buying food from the United States.”

At this time there is no decision as to whether fishing will take place this year. The Fisheries Minister will soon receive DFO’s special recommendation and a decision will be made in principle in the coming weeks.


According to the DFO, all indications are that the heron population is not likely to increase significantly by the time the next stock assessment is done, in the spring of 2024.

“The samples show that the stock is very unlikely to recover after one or two years,” said Nicolas Rolland, head of the fish and marine mammals section for the Department of Fish and Oceans in Moncton. Environmental conditions are not conducive to the recovery of this species at this time.

He cites in particular food – too little to promote the recruitment of young herring – and the cumulative effect of fishing over the years which has reduced the size of the fish.

“Shells that are smaller produce fewer eggs and these have fewer resources to develop the larva,” he says.

UPM points out for its part that the techniques used by DFO to estimate lure stocks need to be adapted because of the changed behavior of this fish.

“Fishermen have noticed changes in the distribution of the herring. It is present in our borders before and in places where it has not been seen for more than 100 years,” says Mr. Mallet.

Although he acknowledges that heron behavior can change, something that DFO is trying to measure through various projects, Nicholas Rolland nevertheless reports that all data on humans has fallen.

“When we compare all of our data over time, whether it’s the forecasted energy data or the data that we collect through DFO surveys, we understand that the fossil fuel is no longer there, it’s actually dropped drastically and it’s not being redistributed.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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