Fisheries and Oceans Canada and commercial prawn fishery industry work

From: Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia – The Government of Canada understands how important the Pacific prawn fishery is to British Columbia’s economy and culture. The Government will continue to manage the fishery responsibly and sustainably, and support the harvesters whose income depend on it.

Today, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, confirmed her support for an interim protocol that would allow harvesters to freeze their catch, a process commonly known as “tubbing.” This Protocol, developed by the Pacific Prawn Fishermen’s Association will help prawn harvesters ensure that their catch, including catch frozen in tubs, is readily available for inspection by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Fishery Officers and legally available for sale.

Monitoring and enforcing size limits within the commercial prawn fishery helps ensure that the prawns are being harvested sustainably. Many harvesters freeze prawn tails in seawater, and DFO recognizes the consistent efforts they have made to have their catch ready for inspection.

The Department looks forward to continued engagement with the Pacific prawn industry over the coming year on the development of different packaging practices or other measures that will help ensure the continued sustainable harvest of British Columbia prawns.

The Government of Canada will continue to take a cautious approach to fisheries management, one that prioritizes the conservation and sustainability of the stocks.

Quotes

“Our goal is, and always has been, to see our Pacific prawn fishery continue to thrive. Working in partnership with the Pacific Prawn Fishermen’s Association, we have agreed on a process that will allow harvesters to freeze their catch at sea this season, just as they’ve done for years. Size limits remain a critical part of a sustainable prawn fishery, and we will work with industry to develop viable, alternative practices for the long-term. But with the season fast approaching, it’s important that British Columbians understand they can, and should, continue to purchase delicious, frozen Pacific prawns.”

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“As a proud British Columbian, I know how integral the prawn fishery is to our economy and our traditions. My thanks to the Pacific Prawn Fishermen’s Association for their hard work and partnership in developing a solution that is commercially viable and protects the health of our stocks. We all want to see a thriving, sustainable prawn fishery for years to come, and we’ll continue to work together toward that shared goal.”

Terry Beech, Member of Parliament for Burnaby North-Seymour and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • BC Spot Prawns have been recognized by the OceanWise program as a “Sustainable” choice, and as a “Good Alternative” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

  • DFO has a comprehensive set of management measures in place that help ensure the sustainability of the commercial prawn fishery, including:

    • trap mesh size restrictions that enable most undersize prawns to escape the traps while still on the sea floor;
    • satellite-based Vessel Monitoring Systems reporting each vessel’s location and the location of each line of traps set and hauled;
    • restrictions on the retention of berried prawns, and
    • in season third-party sampling of catch to ensure DFO can make timely fishery closure decisions.
  • DFO officials have been working collaboratively with commercial prawn fishery representatives to address the issue of “tubbing” over the past several months.

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