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Greenland halibut quota increase to boost fishing jobs in N.L.

Greenland halibut
Greenland halibut

A small increase in the total allowable catch (TAC) of Greenland halibut will pay big dividends for fishing communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to the Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council (GEAC).

At the annual meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) in Montreal this week, all contracting nations agreed to an 11 per cent TAC increase of the species, raising it to 16,500 metric tonnes.

“The bulk of this resource is located along the deep-water slope of the continental shelf very near to the 200-mile limit,” Bruce Chapman, one of Canada’s two industry commissioners to NAFO, said in a press release issued by GEAC.

“Canada’s 36 per cent share of this TAC translates into 6,000 mt for 2018.”

The release notes almost all of Canada’s quota is held by license holders from Newfoundland and Labrador. 

“While most of Canada’s quota is allocated to seasonal small-boat harvesters, the 31 per cent share held by year-round offshore harvesters will help secure both at-sea and on-shore jobs,” said Ocean Choice International (OCI) chief operating officer Blaine Sullivan.

“OCI will re-invest the revenue from this opportunity into Newfoundland and Labrador communities.”

There are projected fluctuations in the number of small fish poised to enter the fishery, which means the increase may be short-term, the release notes.

“Greenland Halibut caught and frozen at sea receives a premium from international customers,” said Alberto Wareham of Icewater Seafoods, located in Arnold’s Cove.

“Quality is key in overseas markets and this species, with its naturally oily flesh, is most desirable as a frozen-at-sea product. Having the ability to supply this premium quality product enables the province to improve its overall export value from this fishery, another example of benefits associated with having a balanced fishery.” 

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