[Sust-mar] DFO dead wrong on cod

Paul A Falvo pfalvo at chebucto.ns.ca
Mon Dec 26 11:55:38 EST 2005

Sierra Club of Canada
Press Release
December 1, 2005
Must be included on national endangered species list, says Sierra Club
of Canada
Ottawa: Fisheries Minister Geoff Regan's announced yesterday that
cabinet will recommend not to add Atlantic Cod to the national list of
endangered species. This indicates that the Department of Fisheries and
Oceans (DFO)'s gross mismanagement that led to the collapse of the
Atlantic cod in the 1990s still reigns, says the Sierra Club of Canada.
The bureaucrats ignored the science-based warning signs, opting instead
to maximize short-term corporate profit.
"Minister Regan's announcement made me shake my head in disbelief," said
the Sierra Club of Canada's Executive Director, Elizabeth May. "If
Atlantic cod aren't at risk of extinction, what is?" she asked.
Recent science clearly indicates that the cod are at risk of extinction.
In May, 2003, the independent scientific body that assesses the status
of species at risk in Canada, COSEWIC, concluded that cod in the inshore
and offshore waters of Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland, including
Grand Bank, having declined 97% since the early 1970s and more than 99%
since the early 1960s. There has been virtually no recovery of either
the abundance or age structure of cod in offshore waters since the
moratoria imposed in 1992 and 1993. 
Yet Regan asserts that the cod are not at risk of becoming extinct and
therefore should not be listed as endangered under the federal Species
at Risk Act. "Scientists are certainly saying that they are at historic
lows and they're not as abundant as they were.There still remain a lot
of cod, and, you know, it's not a situation where we think we have to
list," Regan told the CBC recently.
"The listing of a species at risk should be determined based on
scientific merits, not by someone saying 'yah, it seems like there's
plenty of cod' or economic interests" says Rachel Plotkin, Sierra Club
of Canada's Director of Forests and Biodiversity. "It's tragic to watch
the federal government repeat their mistakes again and again," she
"To protect the cod, the habitat must be protected by banning bottom
trawling," said Bruno Marcocchio, Atlantic Marine Campaigner. "SARA
gives Regan the tools to do this, but he refuses to use them."
Cabinet is not set to approve the matter officially until at least April
To learn more about SARA and its implementation to date, visit:
<http://www.sierraclub.ca/wilderness> www.sierraclub.ca/wilderness. 
For more information contact:
Katie Albright, Communications Coordinator, 613-241-4611 

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