The Newfoundland and Labrador cod trap fishery : the basis for a future cod grow out industry

Pynn, Ralph M. (1999) The Newfoundland and Labrador cod trap fishery : the basis for a future cod grow out industry. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

Atlantic cod (Gadus rnorhua) has been the economic foundation for the settlement and maintenance of communities along the coastline of Newfoundland and Labrador. Although there has been some economic diversification throughout the past century, today the vast majority of coastal communities continue to be dependent on the fishery for their continued existence. Cod will play a major role in their future survival. -- Historically, the fishery with the greatest impact on coastal communities was the inshore cod trap fishery. This has proved to be the most efficient method of taking targe quantities of cod in a short period of time. The cod trap season is a relatively short one, based on the annual feeding migration of cod to inshore waters This feeding migration coincides with the spawning of capelin (Mallotus villosus). -- Cod trap catches have a spatial and temporal variability in landings. In the NAFO area 2J3KL (Northern Cod), trap landings have fluctuated between 15,000 to 50,000 metric tonnes (Harris, 1990). While the cod trap was used throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, the majority ofthe catch occurred in 2J3K.L. -- In general the cod trap fishery has failed to generate the economic returns that it is capable of producing. If rural Newfoundland and Labrador is to survive, then the fishery and in particular the inshore cod fishery must continue to play an integral role. Even as the cod fishery rebounds around the province, limited Total Allowable Catches (TACs) will not ensure sufficient returns for everyone involved. Low quotas will mean that fishers will be forced to do more with less and the emphasis will shift away from volume and towards maximizing the value. -- A unique concept for increasing revenues from the Newfoundland and Labrador cod trap fishery is the idea of cod grow out. Fishers have the opportunity to double the weight of their fish in a three to four month period by holding them in cages and feeding male capelin and other baitfish such as herring and squid. Flesh yields and overall fish quality can be improved so that the fish can achieve a higher market value. As well, these same fish that would normally be sold in June - August when market conditions are less than favorable, can now be sold in November - January when higher returns are experienced in markets. From a processor's point of view, cod grow out is a potential solution to many of the processing and marketing problems associated with the purchase of trap cod. It also allows for a controlled supply of cod which can lead to stability and higher prices in the marketplace. -- From the perspective of fisheries resource managers, the concept of cod grow out cannot be overlooked since it maximizes the value from a limited resource. There are also significant economic benefits to both harvesters and processors. The idea of a partnership between the two should not be ruled out. Cod growout has the potential to be an industry of its own that may compare or even surpass the economic returns generated from the wild cod fishery. It is not unrealistic to forecast a cod growers association that will have the potential to produce somewhere in the vicinity of 20,000 MT of farm raised cod within the next five years. In terms of additional revenue generated into the economy of the Province, potential economic benefits are significant. 20,000 MT of farm raised cod sold for $1 a pound on average will yield $44 million as compared to $5.1 million for the starting stock at an average of $0 33 a pound. Government has to promote this industry so that experienced fishers can become fish farmers. For this to happen, fishers have to be able to access a relatively cheap starting stock with a cheap source of feed. -- Research has indicated that the grow out of cod is biologically possible if the logistics of collection near cage sites, and food supply can be achieved. More research is also needed into the processing and marketing of this fish product to address factors such as the rigor mortis process, and gaping ofthe fillets. High growth rates obtainable in net cage culture in combination with better quality and higher market prices from the period of late November to March suggests that an economically feasible cod grow out operation is possible and foreseeable. As the commercial cod fishery of the province reopens, it is obvious that an opportunity exists to increase the value of the inshore cod trap fishery. -- A study conducted in 1997 showed that such a concept is biologically viable. Growth rates and market reaction to the products produced were more than favorable. If the success of the 1997 pilot project can be duplicated in the future on a larger scale, then the foundation will be laid for what promises to be a viable commercial undertaking.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1498
Item ID: 1498
Additional Information: Bibliography: p. 75-79
Department(s): Marine Institute
Date: 1999
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Cod fisheries--Newfoundland and Labrador; Fish-culture--Newfoundland and Labrador; Fish traps

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