Fisheries and Oceans Canada allows trawlers back into the Gulf of St-Lawrence - Is this the end of turbot fish stocks?

    MATANE, QC, April 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The Office des pêcheurs de flétan du
Groenland du Québec (O.P.F.G.Q.) is once again asking the Canadian Government
to formally commit to maintaining the moratorium on the trawling in the Gulf
of St-Lawrence. According to comments by the Ministry's representatives, all
is set for the return of these boats with mobile gear known for their
destructive activity and overfishing of resources.
    Neither Fisheries and Oceans Canada's minister, Gael Shea, nor Prime
Minister Stephen Harper are responding the O.P.F.G.Q.'s requests. But they are
otherwise showing extreme complacency about the deep-sea trawlers, denounces
O.P.F.G.Q's secretary André Boucher, despite irrefutable scientific data
describing the ravages caused by this type of fishing.
    Numerous scientists worldwide have condemned this type of fishing for
years; for many, it is one of the greatest threats to the health of our marine
ecosystems and should simply not exist.
    Research carried out over a twenty-five year span and financed by the
Natural Environment Research Council(1), demonstrates that damages caused by
commercial fishing trawlers are even worse than anticipated, affecting
deep-water fish initially thought to be out of reach for the fishing gear.
    "Why is it that in 2009, marine resources-which belong to all
Canadians-are managed exclusively according to a political agenda? Management
decisions of Fisheries and Oceans Canada's ministry are controlled by
lobbyists of well-off organizations who do not take into account the
devastating environmental and financial consequences. Yet, the minister has
the authority and obligation to protect resources and to ensure they are
shared fairly. Her not doing this is completely unacceptable!" deplores Mr.

    The O.P.F.G.Q. will continue to press the government in order to raise
public awareness and calls on all politicians and organizations that have the
preservation of marine resources at heart.

    (1) Study financed by the NERC - Environment Research Council, the
        European Commission and the Marine Conservation Biology Institute.

For further information:

For further information: André Boucher, Office des pêcheurs de flétan du
Groenland du Québec, secrétaire, (418) 566-6659,

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Office des Pêcheurs de Flétan du Groenland du Québec (OPFGQ)

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