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Scientists: Seals Could Be To Blame For Newfoundland Cod Woes

By Digital Journal Staff     Apr 10, 2001 in Technology
ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland — Newfoundland's northern cod stocks are showing no signs of recovering two years after a fishing moratorium ended on the north and east coasts, federal scientists said Monday.
In yet another gloomy stock status report, released Monday, the federal Fisheries Department said it's still trying to figure out migration patterns and what impact hungry seals are having on the slow-motion recovery.
While there are many uncertainties, it's clear there are very few older cod living in the area that was once the site of the province's largest fishery.
While there are some healthy concentrations of cod close to shore in a few pockets of Trinity Bay and farther south, the spawning stock remains at extremely low levels farther offshore.
``Bottom trawl surveys and acoustic surveys in the offshore have failed to detect any substantial bodies of fish since 1995,'' the report says.
As for the seals, long suspected as the main culprit by the fishing industry, the scientists are for the first time saying there is a ``possibility'' they are ``preventing recovery of the cod stock.''
The shutdown, which was followed by a similar moratorium on the south coast in 1993, led to the elimination of 30,000 jobs in Newfoundland — the largest mass layoff in Canadian history.
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