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FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary. - Telegram file photo

Gap between fishermen and scientists needs to be addressed: FISH-NL

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says it’s time to bring back a tool that once helped bridge the gap between fishermen and scientists, particularly on issues regarding the state of northern cod.

FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary said before it was disbanded in 2011, the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) helped address the divide between Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) scientists and the fishing industry. The FRCC’s role was to listen to all sides and provide advice to the federal minister on quotas.

“DFO scientists and inshore harvesters are once again complete strangers, just like in the early 1990s when the commercial fisheries failed,” Cleary said. “Another council should be formed immediately to bridge the divide between what fishermen are seeing on the water, and what scientists are seeing in their highly suspect mathematical models.”

The FRCC was formed in 1993 as a partnership between science and industry to recommend quotas and conservation measures for the Atlantic fishery. That started changing in 2002, when the panel was charged with focusing on long-term conservation strategies.

The scrapping of the FRCC, and a similar council on the Pacific coast, came about in 2011 under the Harper administration.

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