A quota increase for turbot fished in Nunavut waters will be split evenly between northern fishing zones 0A and 0B. In 0B, 10 per cent of the increase will go to Inuit fishers in Nunavik, while Nunavut fishers will see the remainder. (File photo)

Nunavut fishers get more turbot quota from Ottawa

Fisheries association values total allowable harvest increase at $12 million

By Beth Brown

Nunavut’s turbot fishery could see $12 million in additional annual revenue, now that quotas in the northern fishing zone known as subarea 0, off the east coast of Baffin Island, are increased by 2,035 tonnes for the next two seasons.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced that increase Jan. 24, in a notice to Nunavut fish harvesters.

The quota increase for turbot—also known as Greenland halibut—will see a total allowable harvest jump from 8,575 tonnes to 9,592.5 tonnes in division 0A, and all of that increase will go to Nunavut fishers.

In division 0B, total allowable harvest will increase from 7,575 tonnes to 8,592.5 tonnes, and 90 per cent of that increase will go to Nunavut fishers, while Inuit fishers in Nunavik will get the remaining 10 per cent.

“It’s a sizable increase. We are very excited about it,” said Brian Burke, executive director of the Nunavut Fisheries Association. “We fought long and hard to get to the point where we are getting the majority of increases.

“We’re pleased DFO recognizes adjacency.”

The Nunavut Fisheries Association is a lobby group made up of the four Inuit-owned companies that hold right to fish for shrimp and turbot in waters off Nunavut.

Burke said the increase makes the turbot fishery an $80-million industry in Nunavut. And it means Nunavut fishers hold just over three-quarters of turbot quotas in Nunavut’s adjacent waters. That’s about 13,875 tonnes of turbot.

“We have the capacity to fish the quota,” Burke said, calling turbot a “renewable resource” for the territory.

The quota increase follows stock surveys done by the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization’s scientific council. DFO last increased turbot quotas in 2017.

Nunavut fishers hold quotas for all the turbot fished in division 0A, a fishing ground in the more northerly part of subarea O that stretches from roughly Qikiqtarjuaq to Ellesmere Island.

Even with this increase, Nunavut interests still hold less than 50 per cent of turbot quota in the older and more southerly division 0B.

As for shrimp, Nunavut fishers hold only 37 per cent of quotas in Nunavut’s adjacent waters.

Now that the turbot quota is increased, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board will dole out that quota through its commercial fisheries allocation policy.

In a release, Qikiqtaaluk Corp., which owns the fishing trawler FV Saputi, said the quota will lead to the “the increase of the economic viability of Nunavut companies fishing these allocations.”

“These latest allocations to Nunavut by the federal government is a step in the right direction and (show) its commitment to Indigenous reconciliation,” QC President Harry Flaherty said in the release.

The new quota will kick in for Nunavut fishers around May or June, when the ice begins to leave the area.

Most turbot fished in Nunavut is offloaded in Newfoundland and Greenland and shipped to countries like China, Japan and Taiwan.

Iqaluit’s new deep-water port won’t be used by the commercial fishery, because sailing towards the Nunavut capital would take about as long as it takes to sail to existing ports of use, Burke said.

The Nunavut Fisheries Association would like to see a commercial port built closer to Nunavut fishing grounds, near Qikiqtarjuaq.

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by Concern Inuk/Inukatiks on

    I would like to know why we have never been getting any report’s from (BF) Baffin Fisheries , NONE ZERO ,
    This has become a very big Concern over the Board how they have Set up the New Board and now we don’t even get any Reports back to our Membership , As for how they set them self up internally is The Board Making them self set without the Share Holders know yes total conflict ,
    We now have President and Vice Chair and Sec/Tres under a Different Class with all set with Pay over 6 digits , alone with a Chairman with another class set pay with Vice chair and Sec/Tres , question is Why do we have 2 different Class Boards who are not even Sitting as Board members with HTO’s setting them self’s up to stay internal with a term , The share Holders have never even been consulted for Approval’s of this kind,
    Internal things are happening to much with great power’s internal , The Lawyer of this company should come back to the Share Holders Questions and this is coming soon for our Request , due for Reports Minutes Financial structural info and anything the Share Holders need to know of . I hope some of the members of the HTO will follow up close to the BF Board .

    Concerned Nunavutmuit

  2. Posted by Joe mosa nookiguak on

    Government of Nunavut or DFO should make a deep water port in Qikiqtarjuaq as its very close to fishing ground instead of spending millions of dollars to Greenland money would be useful for Canada

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