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Opening of 3Ps offshore cod fishery means winter work for Icewater Seafoods

Icewater Seafoods employees work on the floor at the high-tech Arnold’s Cove production plant. — Photo by Rebekah Ward/Special to The Telegram
Icewater Seafoods employees work on the floor at the high-tech Arnold’s Cove production plant. — Photo by Rebekah Ward/Special to The Telegram

FFAW Unifor calls for reversal of decision

ST. JOHN'S, NL— The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has announced the opening of the 3Ps cod fishery as of Saturday, Nov. 11.

For the 200 employees at Icewater Seafoods plant in Arnold's Cove, the decision, announced Nov. 10, is a guarantee they will have employment over the winter months.

"We have a 12- to 14-week window that we're primarily dependent on cod from offshore 3Ps," explained Alberto Wareham, president and CEO of the plant.

That window, Wareham says, is from mid-November through to early March. Following the announcement, Wareham says workers should expect to work through to early March as in previous years.

The decision comes after months of uncertainty following DFO's May 23-announcement of the opening of the cod fishery, which left those who depend on the offshore fishery in the dark.

At the time of the announcement, DFO told the Packet that it would engage with offshore fleet representatives to "determine an appropriate way forward in light of the challenging circumstances faced as a result of declining resources in a changing ecosystem.”

FFAW Unifor calls for reversal

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) Union, however, has called on DFO to reverse its decision, claiming its stock assessment was overly optimistic and the cod stock is too vulnerable.

“This stock will be at its most vulnerable in the coming months. Allowing the offshore to begin fishing on spawning aggregations is not only irresponsible, it flies in the face of the sustainability and conservation objectives of the federal government,” FFAW president Keith Sullivan stated in a press release issued Nov. 10.

Canada's share of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 3Ps cod was decreased from 13,043 tonnes in 2016 to 5,486 tonnes in 2017 to help accommodate decreasing cod stock.



mark.squibb@thepacket.ca

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