Response Statements

Response Statement - Atlantic Cod, Newfoundland and Labrador population

This designatable unit (DU) includes the cod management units 2GH, 2J3KL and 3NO, located in the inshore and offshore waters of Labrador and eastern Newfoundland, and the Grand Banks. Cod in this area have declined 97-99% in the past 3 generations and more than 99% since the 1960s.  The area of occupancy declined considerably as the stock collapsed in the early 1990s.  The main cause of the decline in abundance was overfishing, and there has been a large reduction in the fishing rate since 1992.  However, the population has remained at a very low level with little sign of substantive recovery.  The most recent surveys indicate an increase in abundance over the past 3 years, however this change in abundance is very small compared to the measured decline over the past 3 generations.  The extremely low level of abundance and contracted spatial distribution makes the population vulnerable to catastrophic events, such as abnormal oceanographic conditions.  Threats from fishing, predation, and ecosystem changes persist. There is no limit reference point (LRP) for the 2J3KL management unit but the population in this area is considered to be well below any reasonable LRP value. The offshore 2J3KL fishery is under moratorium and there is an inshore stewardship fishery with no formal total allowable catch (TAC). The fishery in the 3NO management unit is also under moratorium. There is a LRP for this management unit and the population is well below this value.

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