Thu. May 26th, 2022

FFAW urges DFO to end plans with weak rope policy

DFO says 739 tonnes of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear have been removed from the waters off Canada’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts in the last two years. It includes more than 118 kilometers of rope.

Most of the gear fetched – about 84 percent – were traps or pots commonly used in lobster and crab fishing. The remaining 16 percent was a combination of nets and longlines from various fisheries.

FFAW once again calls on the DFO to immediately suspend its plans to implement a weak rope policy for combine harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Policies are being introduced across Atlantic Canada to help save rare and endangered North Atlantic sand whales from entanglement.

Whales are surface feeders and tend to strike and drown after being entangled in fishing gear. The weak rope policy is brought in to allow the creatures to break free.

The problem, says the Fisheries Union, is that the animals are extremely rare in Newfoundland’s waters, and bringing the policy into force in this region will result in more lost equipment and financial difficulties for local harvesters. Placentia Bay crab picker Loretta Ward says the gear is designed to break at 1700 pounds of pressure, which can cause more problems than it is meant to solve.

She says each crab pot could hold a few hundred pounds, and with 28 to 29 pots per. strict, “it’s a lot of weight” and with the tide jerking gear up and down, “it will lead to lost gear.”

FFAW’s Inshore VP, Tony Doyle, says the union asked the DFO why it settled on a weak rope as a solution to the problem if they did not know if it could work, but “they had no answer.”

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