Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has issued a stark warning linking the demise of codfish in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence to a rapidly increasing seal population.
The warning is contained in the most recent stock assessment of Atlantic cod in the southern Gulf that was released earlier this month.
“At the current abundance of grey seals in this ecosystem, recovery of this cod population does not appear to be possible, and its extinction is highly probable,” the report says.
DFO fish biologist Doug Swain said the cod population is now about five per cent of levels in the 1980s, and the downward spiral is accelerating despite a moratorium on a directed cod fishery in the Gulf since 2009.
The problem is an “extremely high” and “unsustainable” death rate for cod five years or older… more