EASTERN CANADA, “A FISHERY WITH NO CLEAN HANDS”: MARINE FISHERIES CATCH RECONSTRUCTION FROM 1950 TO 2010

Total marine catches in Eastern Canada’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) were reconstructed to include catches of the small-scale subsistence and recreational fisheries, as well as illegal and unreported commercial catches and their discards, both domestic and foreign. Additionally, a ‘baseline’ of reported FAO landings was established by regionally disaggregating domestic and foreign data reported to FAO, in essence separating landings caught inside the Canadian EEZ to those caught outside. The reconstructed catch was over two times the ‘baseline’ FAO reported landings deemed as having been caught in the Canadian EEZ (or EEZ-equivalent waters) from 1950 to 2010. The bulk of unreported catch was taken prior to the establishment of the EEZ in 1977 (treated as EEZ-equivalent waters), due to high discards by the domestic and foreign groundfish trawl fleets at that time. This study also includes an analysis of the biomass, catch, and exploitation levels of the post-moratorium Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) stocks in Eastern Canada, with insights as to its sluggish recovery in the post-moratorium era.

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