Table of Contents
Annex 3 Canada-Maritimes Cod Action Team Cod Rebuilding Strategy
Between the 1970s and the 1990s, many of the Atlantic cod stocks adjacent to Canada’s Maritime provinces, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador experienced a significant population decline. The continued decline, and lack of any substantial rebuilding of the stocks resulted in a number of drastic management measures being imposed, including both short-term and long-term moratoria on commercial fishing of Atlantic cod.
Following the last moratorium in 2003, and in recognition of the economic, cultural and historic importance of cod stocks for Atlantic Canada, the federal and provincial governments initiated a series of bilateral processes to identify long-term strategies for cod rebuilding. All governments also recognized that a coordinated, multilateral approach to the rebuilding of "shared" stocks was equally important in order to maximize the effectiveness of rebuilding efforts.
The following report represents the federal and provincial action strategies for the rebuilding of Atlantic cod stocks. These strategies will serve as the blueprint for long-term rebuilding actions for Atlantic cod stocks. They also represent a commitment from the federal and provincial governments to continue to work cooperatively to assist in the rebuilding of these cod stocks.
In August 2003, shortly after the announcement of a moratorium on the harvesting of Southern and Northern Gulf stocks of Atlantic cod, the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador formed the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Action Team for Cod Rebuilding, led at the federal level by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and provincially by the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (DFA). The Action Team was mandated to develop a stock rebuilding and long-term management strategy for the four major cod stocks adjacent to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Shortly thereafter, in September 2003, the Canada-Quebec Action Team was established, followed by a Canada-Maritimes Cod Action Team in October 2003, involving the governments of Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
The table below illustrates the cod stocks that each federal-provincial Cod Action Team addressed through their work. As you will note, there are overlaps between the stocks that each CAT addressed:
Each Cod Action Team (CAT) was to be a joint initiative between the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the provincial fisheries department(s), under the direction of the respective DFO Regional Director General and provincial Deputy Minister(s), and included government officials from the fields of science, resource management and policy. The Cod Action Strategies also involved extensive consultation with a variety of stakeholders, including industry, academic, Aboriginal communities, environmental groups and local interests. This broad representation was intended to ensure that proposed rebuilding objectives and strategies were realistic and cognizant of conservation requirements and social, cultural and economic considerations. In some cases, External Advisory Committees were established with representation from a variety of experts and stakeholders to further assist a Cod Action Team.
Although there was some variation in the mandates of the Cod Action Teams with respect to the various cod stocks to be addressed, all were intended to produce long-term strategies for the rebuilding of cod stocks.
In delivering on their mandates, the individual Cod Rebuilding Strategies share many common elements, including cod stock status information, an examination of some of the key factors affecting rebuilding, and implications related to the federal Species at Risk Act, among others.
Multilateral Analysis and Coordination
The Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (ACFAM) agreed to the need for multilateral coordination among the three Cod Action Teams. This coordination was necessary given the common cod stocks addressed by more than one Cod Action Team, and because of the federal government’s involvement on all CATs.
In addition to serving as the forum for approving the Terms of Reference for each CAT, the ACFAM ensured coordination and cooperation among the CATs, as well as providing final approval of the individual CAT Rebuilding Strategies, and the multilateral analysis and overview.
From the early stages of the CAT process, all three federal-provincial CATs have engaged in collaborative efforts. In addition to the regular exchange of documents and information among the Teams, there have been numerous face-to-face meetings, workshops and teleconferences where content and process issues were discussed. As well, the Cod Action Teams provided regular updates to Deputies and Ministers through the ACFAM processes.
The Species at Risk Act and Cod Rebuilding Strategies
Around the time that the Cod Actions Teams were being set up, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) identified the following Atlantic cod populations as being either endangered, threatened or of special concern:
|COSEWIC Population||COSEWIC Designation||NAFO Fishing Areas|
Newfoundland and Labrador
2GH, 2J3KL, 3NO
4TVn, 4VsW, 4X, 5ZEj,m
Although the Cod Action Teams had been created in recognition of the ecological, social and economic importance of cod and to provide guidance to the development of fisheries management plans to assist in long term rebuilding efforts, they recognized that cod could be listed as a species at risk and, thereby, subject to the rebuilding requirements of the Species at Risk Act (SARA).
It was recognized that Cod Action Team Rebuilding Strategies could be used to inform the SARA listing decision process or, if necessary, the development of a SARA-compliant rebuilding strategy and action plan. CAT rebuilding strategies were, therefore, prepared so as to be consistent with the rebuilding strategy requirements under SARA.
Although the rebuilding strategies were developed through three separate and distinct processes with slightly differing approaches, the goals and objectives of the Cod Action Teams were consistent and complimentary and a number of common principles emerged among all three of the Rebuilding Strategies:
General Purpose -- Stock Rebuilding:
Each Rebuilding Strategy is primarily intended to assist in the rebuilding of Atlantic Canada’s cod stocks. Intended to serve as long-term strategies for cod rebuilding, each will be used for the future management of fish stocks as it relates to the re-opening, expansion, or reduction of commercial cod fisheries.
To this end, all three plans propose a suite of technical and management measures to assist in the long-term rebuilding of the cod stocks.
All three plans emphasize the requirement for shared decision-making between DFO and provinces with stakeholders as a cornerstone of shared stewardship. Shared stewardship is also a common element in relation to plans for scientific research and for improving regulatory compliance.
Precautionary Management Decision-Making Frameworks:
All three plans propose advancing precautionary management decision-making frameworks that use multiple indicators of stock status and productivity, that define reference points for delimiting the "healthy", "cautious" and "critical" zones proposed by the DFO precautionary approach model, and specify the need for pre-agreed decision rules.
All plans propose using a suite of biological indicators related to stock abundance and productivity conditions in decision rules, although possibly in different ways. Of course, there are variations among the CATs related to their proposals: The Quebec plan is unique in proposing the inclusion of social and economic indicators (termed "objectives"), while the Canada-Maritimes Scotia-Fundy Strategy is unique in proposing inclusion of regulatory compliance indicators in Total Allowable Catch (TAC) decision rules.
The federal-provincial Cod Action Team Rebuilding Strategies provide the federal and provincial governments with recommended objectives and principles for long-term cod rebuilding. These details, including timelines, will be developed through fisheries management plans or action plans.
On November 14, 2005, the Cod Rebuilding Strategy Report was presented to the Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (ACFAM) for their review. The ACFAM approved the release of the Report, noting that it represents an important step toward the rebuilding of Atlantic cod stocks, but that considerable work has yet to be done, including analysis of some of the recommendations and development of an implementation plan.
All governments recognize the need for continued multilateral cooperation and collaboration for the rebuilding of Atlantic cod stocks. As such, the ACFAM directed the Atlantic Fisheries and Aquaculture Committee (AFAC) to continue to monitor progress and implementation of the Strategies, and to report back to Deputies and Ministers, as necessary.
The Multilateral Cod Rebuilding Strategy illustrates not only the recognition of federal and provincial governments of the importance of the rebuilding of cod stocks for Atlantic Canada, but that all jurisdictions must work cooperatively and collaboratively to ensure the rebuilding of the resource.
These rebuilding strategies provide the necessary groundwork for efficient and effective rebuilding efforts, to ensure the conservation and sustainable harvest of cod in Atlantic Canada for current and future generations.
Through the Ministerial approval of the individual and Multilateral Cod Rebuilding Strategies, and the continued interjurisdictional cooperation and collaboration on the implementation of rebuilding recommendations, the federal and provincial governments commit to work together to assist in the long-term cod rebuilding process.