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Commercial redfish operations to resume after 30 year moratorium

By Evan Taylor Jan 26, 2024 | 4:16 PM

Katina Rogers / CC

The Department of Fisheries and Ocean announced on Friday that the commercial redfish fishery will reopen in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

Notably, Nova Scotia will maintain the largest share of the allocation, although the specific reduction from its previous share remains unclear.

The province had been advocating for the preservation of its historical allocation of 50 percent.

Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador had also been actively seeking a portion of the redfish allocation, aiming to offset a significant reduction in shrimp quotas. The redistribution reflects the ongoing negotiations and lobbying efforts from various stakeholders.

According to Todd Williams of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, shrimp harvesters in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Indigenous fishers will now receive 10 percent of the allocation. Unfortunately, a detailed breakdown of the allocation by province is not available at this time.

Fisheries Minister Diane Lebouthillier also explained that the fishery will operate on a trial basis under these new terms for two years. “Since the fishery has been closed for almost 30 years, we will be closely watching the participation in the fishery, the management issues that may arise, and how the market for redfish develops so that we can adjust accordingly,” said Lebouthillier.

The reopening of the fishery will occur gradually, starting with a focus on the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the initial two-year phase.

It’s important to note that the minimum total allowable catch for the revised fishery has been set at 25,000 tonnes. This measure aims to ensure sustainable fishing practices and the preservation of the redfish population in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.