Canada opening new commercial whelk fishery in Nova Scotia
Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has announced plans to introduce a new commercial fishery for whelk in Nova Scotia.
The new fishery, to be introduced next year, will be located off the coast of Eastern Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. The new fishery, the government said, is the result of monitoring the area – Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Area 4Vs – and determining the whelk population can support a biologically and economically sustainable fishery.
“I am proud to announce the development of a new commercial whelk fishery in Nova Scotia,” Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Diane Lebouthillier, who recently replaced Joyce Murray in the position, said. “This fishery is particularly important to my community in Quebec, and I am pleased to see that it will now foster the Nova Scotia economy while increasing the availability of our quality seafood in international markets.”
The area, the DFO said, already has an exploratory fishery that supports roughly 55 jobs in Nova Socia. Exploratory fisheries in Canada typically cover areas where scientific observations are too low to determine whether an established commercial fishery could be sustainable.
Decisions on licensing the new commercial fishery, the DFO said, will be made prior to its opening sometime in Spring 2024.
The new commercial fishery is not the only whelk fishery in the country. As Lebouthillier mentioned, whelk fishing is already established in the Canadian province of Quebec, which has 15 different whelk fishing areas. Fishing of the Common Northern or Waved whelk (Buccinum undatum) has also been ongoing in Newfoundland and Labrador since 1986.
The Newfoundland and Labrador fishery, according to the DFO, has a total allowable catch of 5,000 metric tons for NAFO Subdivision 3Ps, a limit established prior to the 2009 season that has not changed.
According to the DFO, most of the whelk catch is exported from Canada to Asian markets.
“Today marks an exciting chapter for Northeastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton as we unveil plans for a new commercial whelk fishery,” Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Mike Kelloway said. “The fishery will not only create jobs but also contribute to the prosperity of Nova Scotian communities while ensuring the long-term health of our marine resources.”
Photo courtesy of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans