Why Ottawa was keeping a close eye on N.L. fishermen in 1994

Ottawa was letting Newfoundlanders briefly fish for a limited amount of cod, but it was watching their catch very carefully.

In 1994, N.L. residents were allowed to catch cod for personal consumption again for a limited time

Keeping an eye on the catch

27 years ago
In August of 1994, fisheries officers were keeping a close eye on what individual fishermen were hauling into their boats. 2:14

Two hundred fisheries officers were keeping a close eye on what was being caught off the coast of Newfoundland.

And so were the people casting about for cod, as they knew the rules being strictly enforced.

Tonda MacCharles provided an overview of what it was like for the recreational fishermen, who were then allowed to catch a limited quantity of cod per day.

"They were on the water before dawn, out to catch for their table," said MacCharles, in a report that aired on CBC's Prime Time News on August 26, 1994.

"Fishermen, moonlighters, tourists, even children, fished with baited hooks and jiggers, no high-tech gear allowed."

Keeping watch

Some 200 fisheries officers were keeping watch over what Newfoundlanders were hauling into their boats, the day the CBC's Tonda MacCharles tagged along with them in August of 1994. (Prime Time News/CBC Archives)

The Newfoundlanders out on the water were taking advantage of being allowed to catch some cod on specific days, for a limited period of time.

That was a change from an ongoing months-long period in which no cod could be caught for personal consumption — separate from the moratorium on commercial cod fishing that had already been in effect for two years.

And that's why fisheries officers were keeping watch on what was going on from helicopters in the air, as well as boats out on the water.

Fisheries Officer Bob Turner believed the people putting their lines in the water that day were following the rules quite closely.

"If we got compliance with the rules set down by the minister, I honestly don't think it's going to destroy the fish," he told CBC News.

MacCharles said the federal government made it clear it would act if there were any problems, by shutting down the limited food fishery.

Fisheries officers were keeping a close eye on what people were hauling into their boats in August of 1994. (Prime Time News/CBC Archives)

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