Nfld. & Labrador

Follow the rules, says DFO as recreational food fishery opens

With the recreational food fishery open as of Saturday morning, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is reminding people about the rules of the fishery.

5 fish allowed per person, per day — but no sharks

Daryl Walsh says DFO officers will be on the lookout to ensure fishers are following the rules of the recreational food fishery this summer. (Gary Locke/CBC)

With the recreational food fishery open as of Saturday morning, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is reminding people about the rules of the fishery.

Daryl Walsh, a senior compliance officer with DFO, says people are only allowed to catch five groundfish per day, up to a maximum of 15 fish per vessel.

Sculpins or conners can be discarded, and fishers are not permitted to keep any Atlantic halibut, spotted or northern wolffish or sharks.

Walsh said DFO officers will be patrolling and inspecting boats to make sure those limits aren't exceeded and that people aren't overfishing.

"We're very concerned about people who would make multiple trips per day — like come in and catch five fish in the morning and go out and try and catch five more that evening," he said.

"The vessel can return to sea the same day, but only if it's different people on board catching the fish."

DFO want to ensure fishers are only catching the five fish allowed per person, per day. (DFO/Twitter)

Walsh said there's also concern about a practice called "high grading."

"That's when people will catch five fish — and the unfortunate part is, they can die aboard their vessel — and then they'll throw away those small fish because they happen to catch another, bigger one," he said.

"And that's against our regulations."

Fishers are allowed to gut and clean the fish at sea, however.

"But we have to be able to count the fish, and we have to be able to identify it as codfish, so it's important that the skin is left on the fish," Walsh said.

The summer recreational food fishery will be open Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays for the next 10 weeks, until Labour Day. The fall food fishery will run from Sept. 21 to 29.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Anthony Germain