Caplin scoop

Gavin Simms
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Fishery Short-lived season comes to an end

For most people, caplin fishing involves a trip to the beach with a dip net, and a goal of bagging a meal or two. For others, it involves two to four days of intense commercial seining and trapping in hopes of catching the quota and getting a good dollar.

For the 2008 season, daily catch limits for the fixed-gear sector were 35,000 pounds in Trinity Bay, 45,000 pounds in Bonavista Bay, and in all other areas, daily catch limits were not to exceed 50,000 pounds. There was a daily catch limit for the purse seine fleet of 50,000 pounds and a seasonal harvest cap of 150,000 pounds.

Loads of caplin are shown on fishing boats after a successful day at sea. - Photos by Gavin Simms/The Packet

Clarenville - For most people, caplin fishing involves a trip to the beach with a dip net, and a goal of bagging a meal or two. For others, it involves two to four days of intense commercial seining and trapping in hopes of catching the quota and getting a good dollar.

For the 2008 season, daily catch limits for the fixed-gear sector were 35,000 pounds in Trinity Bay, 45,000 pounds in Bonavista Bay, and in all other areas, daily catch limits were not to exceed 50,000 pounds. There was a daily catch limit for the purse seine fleet of 50,000 pounds and a seasonal harvest cap of 150,000 pounds.

All in all, this year's caplin fishery went exceptionally well. The high catch rates were on par with last year's. This year's market was even a little stronger. Many reports from the industry sector say it's been the best caplin fishery in years, in an abundance perspective and in terms of quality.

Ray Walsh, resource manager for pelagic fisheries with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, says from where he stands, it all looks bright.

"There seems to be a lot of excitement and interest within the industry. Everyone's got some big expectations.

"There are a number of markets out there. The roe market in Japan is a big one, with higher value market. They're developing markets in Taiwan and China. There was actually a very strong market in Russia this year."

The Newfoundland fishery, in the scheme of the global market, is a relatively small fraction. With all the fish being landed at one time, there is no fear of it having a significant impact on market trends.

The fact that the caplin market is strong this year may be an indication of what's gone on in other fisheries such as Iceland, where they've had a reduced fishery due to low caplin stocks.

The management of caplin stocks is rather complicated. Because of the importance of caplin as a forage fish, some believe that caplin should not be fished commercially at all. Not only are caplin important as a forage fish, but the annual inshore spawning migration of caplin influences the inshore trap fishery for cod. They lure cod inshore.

Generally, the opening process is very important in the caplin fishery because there's a relatively short window of opportunity for landing the so-called prime caplin, which command a top dollar.

"There's been a significant focus over the last couple of years with industry to do sampling test fisheries to determine when the optimum opening time is. This year it varied depending on the perception of individual fleets," Walsh says.

Historically the larger fleet, the purse seiners, would have gone out first. There's no protocol dictating one boat will fish before another. It's just been the order of things. This year, for the most part, the fixed gear opened earlier and then the purse seining fleet set off. Everything seemed to work out fine, but still the Department of Fisheries and Oceans plan to work together with the industry to make sure.

"We'll certainly have consultation meetings with industry over the winter to see what worked for them and what didn't work for them in the 2008 fishery, as well as the last few years."

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: Clarenville, Trinity Bay, Bonavista Bay Japan Taiwan China Russia Newfoundland Iceland

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Edward
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Good News: The resource is scaled in pounds instead of tonnes. Bad News: It's a roe market, so half of what got pulled aboard was wasted bycatch.

  • Edward
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Good News: The resource is scaled in pounds instead of tonnes. Bad News: It's a roe market, so half of what got pulled aboard was wasted bycatch.