Management of the Northern Cod Fishery: A Guide to Information Sources

Prepared by Colleen Field

On July 2, 1992, a two year moratorium on the northern cod fishery (2J3KL) was announced by the Canadian government. In 1994, it was extended through a five year fish aid program called The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy (TAGS). Thirty years later, the moratorium is still in place with no sign of it being lifted.

As people look to the future, so do they examine the past. Researchers who wish to delve into the background study of the northern cod fishery will find a plethora of material awaiting them.

This guide is intended to help researchers identify and locate information sources that deal with the management of the Newfoundland cod fishery in the 2J3KL zone since 1977. The bibliographic information was retrieved from Memorial University's library catalogue, categorized according to format and arranged either chronologically or alphabetically depending on the format. This arrangement is designed to supplement the library catalogue. The library catalogue is still the best source to consult to find books and reports by author or title.

The majority of the sources are of a social, political or economic nature. Reports dealing with the fishery processing industry were included only if the broad issue of fishery management was discussed. The quantity of scientific and technical reports made it impossible to include these sources in the guide. Information of this type can be found by searching the library catalogue or the bibliographic databases listed in Section G - Bibliographic Databases.

Section A, the Chronology of Key Events and Publications, was compiled using official government news releases, newspaper clippings, reference sources, reports and articles. It is intended to help researchers locate major reports quickly or pinpoint the exact date of an event. Once the date is known, newspapers could be searched or Section B in the guide could be consulted for more information on the document or event. (updated May 2022)

Section B, the Bibliography, includes books and reports only and is arranged chronologically from 1977 to present. Entries are listed alphabetically under each year. This chronological arrangement allows a researcher to go quickly to the year(s) of interest and also provides an overview of fisheries management decisions leading up to the current crisis.

Section C, Periodicals, is an alphabetical list of periodicals, magazines, newsletters and ongoing research documents which contain articles on fishery management or the cod fishery in Newfoundland.

Section D, Statistical Sources, brings together sources of a statistical nature whether they are books, periodicals or annual publications. They cover landings, quotas, prices, imports/exports, etc.

Section E, Annual Reports, identifies reports that are issued annually by governments, businesses and organizations.

Section F, Miscellaneous Sources, is comprised mainly of reference sources such as handbooks, encyclopedias and indices. Proceedings of government committees are listed as well.

Section G, Bibliographic Databases, describes databases in the Queen Elizabeth II Library which would include references to books and periodical literature which deal with management of the northern cod fishery but which may not have been included in this guide. 

Section H, Periodical Articles, lists periodical articles which have been published since the cod moratorium was announced in 1992. The articles deal mainly with the social impact of the moratorium. Should pre-1992 articles be desired, the researcher is directed to Section G. The articles listed are not all held by the Queen Elizabeth II Library. The articles are listed both alphabetically and chronologically.

Section I, Vertical Files, directs researchers to file folders in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies which contain a wealth of information in the form of newspaper clippings and pamphlets on various topics and organizations.

Section J, Fisheries Related Acronyms, lists acronyms which researchers will no doubt encounter in their study of fishery management reports.

Section K, Map of the Fishing Zones, provides a map of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Management Divisions. It indicates the zones collectively known as 2J3KL. 

Sections L, Fisheries Department Name Changes, and M, Federal and Provincial Fisheries Ministers, aid researchers who are searching indices for Hansard, newspaper articles, etc., by outlining the many name changes that have occurred.

Section N, Websites, links researchers to a selection of fishery-related websites that provide statistics, stock assessments, management plans, research reports, etc.

Section O, Cod Moratorium Songs, lists a selection of songs that deal in some way with the impact of the 1992 cod moratorium on fishing communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.

This is by no means an exhaustive guide but it does attempt to provide a starting point for researchers faced with an incredible amount of material. Although sections C to F contain references to information held by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans Library, the guide has not attempted to include the substantial research material held by the DFO Library, which is now a member of the Federal Science Library.

For more information, contact the Centre for Newfoundland Studies at