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Catching quality cod: FFAW studying best fishing practices in N.L.

Quality more important than quantity in cod fishing, says FFAW

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The FFAW is working with fish harvesters to ensure cod fishermen are catching and shipping more quality cod.

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Researchers with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) are working with fish harvesters to determine how to ensure cod caught in Newfoundland and Labrador is top quality.

As Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can attest, many can tell the difference between a great piece of cod and an average one. And the FFAW's new project is aiming to close the gap between the two. 

Bill Broderick, the inshore director of the FFAW, told CBC's The Broadcast that 32 harvesters have signed on for the project.

He said fish harvesters need to ensure they catch quality cod because, these days, quality is more important than quantity.

"We don't need to go out there and bring in 5,000 or 6,000 pounds of fish," said Broderick.

"[If we do that,] we're going to have less quality and consequently we're going to get a lesser price."

More money in quality cod

According to Broderick, as the province's fishery begins to move away from shellfish and back towards groundfish, harvesters need to be cautious.

"People will pay good money for it if we can supply them with a prime product."

Harvesters participating in the research program must follow a protocol devised by the FFAW that includes using temperature loggers on the nets brought back to shore and moderated soak times.

The goal is to ensure that harvesters are able to reach a minimum level of quality each time they fish for cod.

And while Broderick said the project isn't collecting feedback from consumers just yet, the hope is to consult with them in the future.

Broderick said he hopes the presence of the program — and number of harvesters participating in it — will educate the public on the need to promote quality of cod.

"With people out in the communities seeing how this is done, this is educating the masses."

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