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Letter: Cod facing ‘natural mortality’ or starvation?

Cod caught in 2017. Upon gutting, all that was in their stomachs were sea anemones and blackberry (zooplankton). — David Boyd photo
Cod caught in 2017. Upon gutting, all that was in their stomachs were sea anemones and blackberry (zooplankton). — David Boyd photo - Submitted

Now that DFO has announced that the cod stocks have declined due to “natural mortality” — a nice way of saying no one is responsible — I take the liberty of posting a few shots I took in 2017 to show what I call starving cod and the contents of their stomachs.

Related story:

Northern cod stock declined over last year; scientists urge minimum fishing effort

Not sure of other people’s experiences last year, but this is typical of the cod I caught.

I can only speak for myself. See the sea anemones and the blackberry (zooplankton) in one photo and I was surprised to find nothing but a welk in another cod.

So if cod have no good protein food, such as bellies bursting with caplin, to make them fat with large, healthy livers to sustain them through the winter, and they die, would this be classified as “natural mortality” or starvation? Already many fishermen are urging DFO to close the food fishery, which I agree should be more closely monitored to try and avoid abuse both by non-fishers as well as commercial fishers — but definitely not abolished as the solution is more complex and the fault more widely distributed.

David Boyd

Twillingate

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