November 22-26, 2010
St. John's, NL
Chairperson: Joanne Morgan
The Precautionary Approach (PA) is a general philosophy to managing threats of serious or irreversible harm where there is scientific uncertainty. The application of precaution requires increased risk avoidance where there are risk of serious harm and high uncertainty. These conditions often apply in fisheries; therefore precaution should be incorporated in fisheries management.
Canada is committed domestically and internationally to the use of PA in managing its fisheries. Over the last few years, there have been several initiatives in Canada to define the PA in a fisheries context, to identify benchmarks that would be consistent with the approach and to apply it in fisheries management. The fundamental principles guiding this approach have been outlined in two key documents produced by DFO: 1) the Science Advisory Report 2006/023 that identifies the minimal requirements for harvesting strategies to be compliant with the PA (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas/Csas/status/2006/SAR-AS2006_023_E.pdf) and 2) the 2008 Decision-Making Framework Incorporating the Precautionary Approach (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/peches-fisheries/fish-ren-peche/sff-cpd/precaution-eng.htm); a policy document to guide the incorporation of PA principles in the management of Canadian fisheries.
To be compliant with the PA, fishery management plans should include harvest strategies that incorporate a science-based Limit Reference Point (as well as Upper Stock Reference and Removal Reference points). It is expected that the management decisions should respect the indicated actions in each of the stock zones in relation to these points (i.e., Healthy, Cautious, and Critical).
Besides activities in support of the PA for Atlantic cod at this time, science input will also to be required for the Recovery Potential Assessment of several COSEWIC Designatable Units (DUs) of Atlantic cod in February 2011. In anticipation of this, a number of modeling and analysis questions must be reviewed before providing projections of abundance by DU.
The key objective of the meeting is to define limit reference points, consistent with the precautionary approach, for Newfoundland cod stocks based on the best scientific information available, including that from the last assessment of these stocks as well as past assessments of the stock. Approaches to address projections required for the Recovery Potential Assessment of cod stocks will also be discussed.
No advisory reports are expected from the meeting since no catch or management advice will be produced.
Specifically, the following objectives have been set:
A Proceedings Report will be produced to record the meeting discussions and outcomes.
This meeting will be highly technical in nature and the discussions and review will require participants that are familiar with a broad range of quantitative assessment and modeling techniques. Since no catch or management advice will be provided, the perspectives and participation from industry, aboriginal communities, and provincial governments are not required. Participation will be internal and by invitation only.