Subject: Info: Of Seals and Fish

Michael Williamson (whe_william)
Mon, 29 Mar 1995 15:51:49

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Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 15:39:12 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Info: Of Seals and Fish
Message-id: <950329153912.15017@FLO.ORG>
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From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 29-MAR-1995 13:20:15.12
Subj:	Cod, seals and the world fishery
Date:         Wed, 29 Mar 1995 09:53:21 PST
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Sender:       Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
From:         Y6IM@acad1.UnbSJ.CA
Organization: UNB Saint John
Subject:      Cod, seals and the world fishery
To:           Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
In response to many of the questions that have been raised concerning
the cod/seal interactions, and the resumption of the seal hunt - Here
is an extremely well-written report from an individual in NAFO (the
North-West Atlantic Fisheries Organization) from another network.
The scope is more fisheries-related - but that has serious
implications for management of the marines resources, including seals.
It is both historical and current, talking about the nearly-extinct
cod-stocks, and the current turbot dispute.  Most readers who were
critical of past fishery management decisions should find this
particularly interesting...
Dave R.
---------------------forwarded message------------------------------
From: Bruce Atkinson <Atkinson@NFLORC.NWAFC.NF.CA>
Subject:      Turbot Issue
To: Multiple recipients of list FISH-ECOLOGY
Manuel Gomes responded to the request of Aldo-Pier concerning the
current controversy surrounding Greenland halibut.
I feel it is necessary to clarify some of the issues, and correct
some of the factual errors contained in his comments.
1. The collapse of northern cod (moratorium declared on northern cod
on July 2, 1992) did not have a significant impact on the cod fishery
of Spain and Portugual.  Instead it was the decline and eventual
closure of the southern Grand Bank cod (in NAFO divisions 3NO) that
impacted these fleets the most, along with the decline of American
plaice and yellowtail flounder in divisions 3LNO.  These fisheries
were closed by agreement within the NAFO Fisheries Commission
beginning in 1994 (and carried over for 1995 based on the
recommendation of the Scientific Council of NAFO).
It was also the displacement of the Spanish fleet from Namibian waters
which resulted in a substantial increase in fishing effort in the
Northwest Atlantic beginning around 1986.
2. From 1985 to 1990, total NAFO allocations and catches (000 t) of
groundfish outside 200 miles by the EU and reported to NAFO were as
follows (these include transboundary stocks of northern cod, southern
Grand Bank cod, American plaice, yellowtail flounder, witch flounder
and redfish as well as stocks completely outside 200 miles on Flemish
Cap (redfish, cod and American plaice):
                1986  1987  1988  1989  1990  1991  1992  1993
Allocation       26    23    19    13    15    20    19    16
Catch           172   141    85    93    46    57    30    15
It must be pointed out that the EU used the 'Objection Procedure'
during these years, not accepting the allocations decided by the
Fisheries Commission, but setting their own quotas instead.  They
have the legal right to do this under the NAFO Convention.
There is ample evidence in the Reports of the Scientific Council of
significant unreported catches during most of this period.
3. What is obscured in the above is the fact that the 'tail' area of
the Grand Bank outside the Canadian 200 mile limit is a known nursery
area for cod, American plaice and yellowtail flounder (it is the only
known nursery area for yellowtails).  The following are interesting
figures indicating the sizes of fish caught (taken from NAFO Sci.
Counc. Rept. 1990, page 34):
Yellowtail flounder (3LNO)
                   1988                          1989
          Catch wt      Catch #         Catch wt      Catch #
Canada    10,614 t      19.6 million     5,007         9.8 million
EU         3,205 t      24.0 million     1,126        12.4 million
American plaice (3LNO)
                   1988                          1989
          Catch wt      Catch #         Catch wt      Catch #
Canada    26,900 t      37.9 million    27,900        39.9 million
EU         8,900 t      15.9 million    10,600        38.2 million
One does not get a complete picture when examining catch weights
alone as there are obviously significant differences in the sizes of
fish being captured which exacerbates the problem of exceeding
4. Perhaps it is simply the wording, but Gomes implies a cause/effect
relationship between the decline of northern cod and the increase in
turbot catches.  Northern cod "collapsed" in 1992, *after* the
beginnings of the increased turbot fishery.  All of the increase in
this later fishery took place outside Canada's 200 mile limit.
Simultaneously, the catches of turbot by Canada continued to decline.
The catches (000 t) have been reported to NAFO as follows:
          1983 1984  1985 1986  1987  1988  1989  1990  1991  1992
Canada     28   25    18   16    29    15    16    12    11     7
EU          0    2     2    2     3     4     3    17    24    45
There are indications from Canadian surveillance that the 1993 catch
by the EU may have been as high as 60,000 t.  Indications are that the
1994 catch by the EU was approximately the same as that of 1993.
Clearly recent increases were non-Canadian and did not result from
displacement of the Canadian fleet from the cod fishery.
5. Prior to 1994, the Fisheries Commission of NAFO did not discuss
Greenland halibut in NAFO subareas 2+3, nor did it set quotas.
Assessments were carried out on an annual basis by the Scientific
Council of NAFO but only at the request of Canada as the coastal
state.  This information was then passed back to Canada from the
Scientific Council.  Canada established the annual quotas, but they
applied only to the Canadian Zone for all years prior to 1995.  In
September of 1994, the Fisheries Commission of NAFO, for the first
time, imposed a quota of 27,000 t on the resource for 1995.  This
quota was for the entire stock area both inside and outside Canada's
200 mile limit.  Until 1995, the fishery for Greenland halibut outside
Canada's 200 mile limit was **TOTALLY** unregulated.  No fishery was
prosecuted by Canada in this area.
6. Canada did not request an 'increase' in its quota for 1995.
Indeed, given that the quota for Greenland halibut inside the Canadian
Zone was 25,000 t in 1994, and the 1995 quota of 27,000 t applies both
inside and outside the zone, Canada was faced with a reduction.  The
major difficulty for the EU, regardless of their allocation, is the
significant reduction in catches simply because of the imposition of a
quota outside Canada's 200 mile limit for the first time.  This
difficulty exists regardless of whether the NAFO Fishery Commission
allocations, or the alternate EU allocation associated with the EU's
use of the "Objection Procedure' are enforced.
7. Both the Canadian and EU positions during the recent meeting of the
Fisheries Commission held in Brussels (January, 1995) were based on
'historical' rights.  Whereas the EU advocated that catches over a 4
year period (1990-1993) represented historical rights, Canada's
position was that rights should be determined based on average
catches over a longer period.  The EU's shorter period would give
them a larger share, whereas Canada's 'longer' position would result
in their receiving a larger share.
8. It is incorrect to say that very little is known about the stock
structure of Greenland halibut.  A considerable amount of literature
has been published on this, primarily by Bowering for the Northwest
Atlantic.  Briefly, it is believed that Greenland halibut in the
Northwest Atlantic represent a single stock extending from Davis
Strait in the north to the southern limit of its distribution of
Scotian Shelf (with the exception of those in the Gulf of St.
Lawrence which have been shown to be a separate spawning group.
Spawning is believed to occur mainly in the deep waters of
Davis Strait, and distribution southward occurs because of egg and
larval drift.  As the fish grow and approach maturity, they begin to
migrate back north.  The NAFO Scientific Council has warned fisheries
managers of the perils of concentrating fishing effort in only a
small area for a number of years.
9. The Canadian surveys Gomes refers to do not include extensive
coverage of the area outside 200 miles where the fishery is now being
prosecuted.  Canada has conducted 2 surveys to this area (covering
depths of 750- 1500m).  These suggested an approximately 60%
reduction in biomass between 1991 and 1994.  Results from these
surveys also indicate a marked reduction in the numbers of older fish
during that time period, with fish aged 9+ declining from about 30-45%
of the catch (depending on NAFO division) in 1991 to 11% or less in
10. While debate may continue concerning the causes of the decline of
northern cod, it is not difficult to determine the causes for
declines of the other Grand Bank stocks.  Information presented in the
catch tables above tends to refute Gomes' suggestion that a simple
answer is contained in consideration of geographic area and that the
party fishing over the widest area is most responsible for the present
11. All of the catches shown above are from 'official' statistics.
There is ample information in the NAFO Scientific Reports going back
to about 1988 or 1989 suggesting significant unreported catches from
outside Canada's 200 mile limit as well.
Much of the information above is contained in the NAFO Scientific
Council Reports, NAFO Statistical Bulletins and in the NAFO Scientific
Council Research Document Series, as well as the primary literature of
NAFO and others.  Interested parties can contact NAFO directly:
        Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
        P.O. Box 638, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
        Canada B2Y 3Y9
        phone: (902) 469-9105           FAX: (902) 469-5729)