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Poll shows most Newfoundland and Labrador residents concerned about future of cod fishery

MQO Research poll shows that majority of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are concerned about the future of the province's cod fishery.
MQO Research poll shows that majority of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are concerned about the future of the province's cod fishery.

A recent poll showing that a majority of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are concerned about the future of the cod industry is not surprising given the province’s historical attachment to the fishery.

MQO Research conducted a poll in April and found that 84 per cent of people in the province were concerned.

In fact, 45 per cent were very concerned; 39 per cent were somewhat concerned; nine per cent were not very concerned; six per cent not all that concerned; and one per cent didn’t know.

Cod catches in Newfoundland and Labrador began to drastically decline in the late 1980s (after showing a downturn many years before) when fishermen had to use more and more gear to catch less and less fish.

The northern cod moratorium was subsequently imposed on July 2, 1992 officially acknowledging that the once-enormous resource had collapsed turning the fishery — and the province’s economy — on its head.

This summer will be 26 years since the moratorium was imposed and — after a couple years where it looked promising that the northern cod stock was finally on the road to recover — this spring scientists announced that the stock had declined again to pre-moratorium levels.

MQO Research spoke with 400 residents of the province by telephone between April 17 and April 25 about the future of the cod industry.

High levels of concern existed among all demographic groups and regions of the province.

The research group also asked respondents what they thought should be done to address the decline in northern cod stocks.

The common replies included: 35 per cent didn’t know; 15 per cent said decrease the seal population; nine per cent said decrease the foreign fishery; six per cent said more research was necessary; and five per cent said decrease quotas or restrict the fishery.

Data collection included 400 randomly selected residents from across the province. The margin of error is ± 4.9 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

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