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The turbot question

Tara Kearsey
Northern News Services

Panniqtuuq (Sep 09/02) - Nunavut's Department of Sustainable Resources wants to prove once and for all that the inshore and offshore turbot fishery in Cumberland Sound should be managed separately.

Carey Bonnell, director of fisheries and sealing for the Department of Sustainable resources, said a Panniqtuuq crew heading out on a test fishery this week will keeping a close watch on any tagged halibut that are recovered.

DFO tagged 1,600 halibut in Cumberland Sound between 1997 and 2000. About 11 of those tags have been recovered, all within the same proximity in which they were deployed.

That means mature turbot in those waters appear to be staying put, rather than heading out to the Davis Strait.

Currently, the inshore and offshore turbot fishery is managed under the same unit. But Bonnell said the evidence suggested they should be treated separately.

"What we're trying to determine is that the stock of turbot in Cumberland Sound area is distinct from the Davis Strait and that they don't contribute back to the offshore," said Bonnell.

An inshore fishery would mean more control by and benefits to the Panniqtuuq area, he said.

That argument has been helped develop an inshore fishery off Greenland that is managed separately from the offshore fishery, he said. "We're going to be making an argument based on the data we have now, and hopefully continued data that comes back, that the Cumberland Sound stock is separate."