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Arctic Fisheries Alliance Press Backgrounder

Arctic Fisheries Alliance Press Backgrounder

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Published by James Henry Bell
This document sets out the organization's concerns about potentially unsustainable fish harvesting practices in Davis Strait and Baffin Bay.
This document sets out the organization's concerns about potentially unsustainable fish harvesting practices in Davis Strait and Baffin Bay.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: James Henry Bell on Jan 14, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/14/2013

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ARCTIC FISHERY ALLIANCE L.P.Background Information onAFA Conservation ConcernsRegarding the Harvest of Small Immature TurbotIqaluit, NunavutNovember, 2012
 
AFA Conservation Concerns
 AFA is deeply concerned about the sustainability of the Greenland halibut resource inthe waters adjacent to Nunavut. Because of its role of making recommendations to theFederal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on the management and allocation of Nunavut quotas the NWMB should be aware of and acting upon issues related to thelong term health of these important fish stocks.Since AFA's initial entry into the commercial fishery, its predecessor quota holder Nattivak HTA has been concerned about the large amount of small immature turbotbeing harvested by mobile trawl gear vessels. It was this concern that in part led to itswithdrawal from BFC and ended its relationship with Clearwater as they primarilyemploy trawl gear to harvest northern turbot. Nattivak came to the conclusion that thiswas a serious conservation issue and hence decided to harvest its quotas whenever possible with fixed gear vessels. It is for this reason that AFA decided when purchasingour own vessel to purchase a gillnet/longline vessel as it is much more selective incatching larger more mature fish.Of the four Nunavut quota holders, AFA is the only enterprise that is exclusivelydependent on the turbot fishery for its income in Nunavut waters and as a consequenceits Inuit owners wish to ensure the turbot resource is sustainably managed andharvested. AFA does not believe this is the case now as well over 50% of the subarea 0turbot resource is caught by trawlers as shown on the attached graph.Furthermore, DFO have expressed concerns in the 2006-2008 Greenland HalibutFishery Management Plan for NAFO Subarea 0 as they note that one of its mainobjectives is to minimize the harvest of small fish. It states in the plan that "In order toaddress concerns regarding small fish in Division 0A, the overall total allowable catch inDivision 0A will remain conservative and the use of long-line vessels will be encouraged....." Yet DFO have not taken any meaningful steps to reduce the catch of small fish.When one considers this situation it should not be surprising that NAFO scientists arenot recommending an increase in the Division 0A TAC.
 
 When AFA was being consulted on the NWMB's Allocation Policy for CommercialMarine Fisheries it was made very clear to all quota holders that we were expected tomeet NWMB's Requirements for Responsible Stewardship as "The conservation of Nunavut's fisheries resources and habitat is NWMB's chief fisheries managementpriority." Furthermore, the compliance with responsible fishing practices and gear useguideline states in part "Each allocation holder must use fishing gear that minimizes......the harvest of juvenile fish." AFA has not seen any concrete steps taken by NWMBto deal with this issue. As a quota holder that is using exclusively fixed gear we feel it is important to bring tothe attention of NWMB these important conservation concerns. AFA has requested thatNWMB address this issue now to ensure the sustainability of Nunavut's turbotresources. AFA's Inuit owners can not rest until this matter is satisfactorily addressedand appropriate management measures enacted.

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