Newfoundland cod stocks on rebound, but still at critically low levels: report

A new federal report says northern cod stocks off eastern Newfoundland continue to grow 25 years after a sweeping moratorium, but warns they remain in the ``critical zone.''

The Fisheries and Oceans Canada update concludes fishing should be kept to the lowest possible levels as a precaution.

It finds that while total biomass was up seven per cent from 2015 to 2016, stocks are still at critically low levels.

Former federal fisheries minister John Crosbie announced a moratorium on the province's commercial cod fishery in 1992.

The move instantly threw thousands of people out of work, sparking protest and shock.

The moratorium was initially to last two years but stocks have not recovered to support a commercial fishery.

The report says there was a spawning biomass of about 300,000 tonnes in 2015.

Fisheries biologist Karen Dwyer says a spawning biomass of about 900,000 tonnes would support a more extensive commercial fishery.