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January 26, 2024
Rivière-au-Renard, Quebec – The Government of Canada recognizes that some fisheries in Quebec and Atlantic Canada are facing serious challenges, including climate change and the resulting disruption of aquatic ecosystems. Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, announced a transition plan that will help fish harvesters in Canada’s coastal communities, and give them the predictability they need to continue their important work in the years ahead.
In Canada and around the world, the effects of climate change and ocean warming are undeniable. The fishing industry is going through and will continue to experience major changes that will require us to reinvent our ways of doing things. In recent years, northern shrimp stocks in the Estuary and northern Gulf of St. Lawrence have reached critical levels, while redfish abundance has reached levels that allow commercial catches to resume. That is why, after 30 years, Minister Lebouthillier announced the return of the commercial Unit 1 redfish this year. To this end, shrimp harvesters will be allocated an allowance to support them. To further reconciliation, a dedicated pool is being created to support indigenous community participation in the fishery.
Minister Lebouthillier also announced, subject to ongoing negotiations with her provincial counterparts, her intention to extend the Quebec and Atlantic Fisheries Funds until 2026, with federal priority given to innovative projects related to the redfish fishery. This extension will provide our fish harvesters with the tools and financial means they need to transit to this new fishery.
Opening of the commercial Redfish fishery in Unit 1
The government recognizes the historic importance of the Redfish fishery to coastal communities across Atlantic Canada and Quebec. The decision to reopen the Unit 1 Redfish fishery, which has been closed since 1995, was based on the most recent stock information, stakeholder views, and the potential social and economic benefits of this fishery.
This reopening will take place in two phases. A first two-year transitional phase will allow for data collection, give fish harvesters time to prepare, further develop markets, and strengthen the sector’s capacity to transform.
A second phase of long-term development aimed at establishing a redfish fishery with a modernized allocation key. A phase that, in view of the current scientific data, would be one of expansion.
Discussions will take place in the coming weeks with the Redfish Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from DFO, the fishing and processing industry, Indigenous groups, provincial governments, and other stakeholders, to determine how to share allocations for each fleet, establish management measures, and consult on a Total Allowable Catch for the 2024 fishing season.
Northern Shrimp of the Estuary and Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence
Due to the status of shrimp stocks in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is announcing a significant decrease in the Total Allowable Catch for the 2024 season.
In total, for the four shrimp stocks, the TAC will be 3,060 tonnes. This TAC will ensure a modest fishery, while allowing shrimp stocks to recover.
Discussions will take place in the near future with industry representatives and First Nations to determine how this allocation will be managed.
“Canada, a maritime nation at the forefront of climate change, is currently at a crossroads. In the face of these many challenges, we will need to be resilient, creative, and above all, row together in the same direction. By launching this robust transition plan today, our government is setting the stage for the future. A future where our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will continue to fish for world-class fish and seafood.”
The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada