Even though eight of Canada’s ten provinces and all three territories directly border the ocean, only about 25 per cent of Canadians live in these coastal zones. That means many Canadians don’t wake up thinking about fisheries, because it’s not at their doorstep. But Canada’s fisheries are of national concern. Sustainable management of our fisheries directly impacts the health of the oceans which is a key source of protein and income for communities across our country.
Annually, Oceana Canada publishes the Fishery Audit to raise awareness of how healthy our fisheries are and if the government is meeting its policy and management commitments. Here are some of the key findings from Fishery Audit 2018:
• Only 34 per cent of Canada’s fish stocks are known to be healthy
• Just over 13 per cent of stocks, including the iconic Northern cod, are critically depleted, requiring immediate action from the government to rebuild them
• Of the 26 critically depleted stocks, only three have rebuilding plans in place and all three plans do not include the recommended content based on global best practices
• 37 per cent of Canada’s most important fisheries lack sufficient information to properly determine their health
Canada’s fisheries are in trouble and Oceana Canada’s Director of Science, Robert Rangeley, explains why fishery health matters: “This is a crucial time for oceans and fisheries. Rebuilding abundance in our fisheries will make them more resilient to climate change and other cumulative environmental changes, so they can continue to be a sustainable source of protein and support the livelihoods of those who rely on them.”
Ultimately, healthy fisheries need healthy oceans and now is the time to act. Fishery Audit 2018 outlines key recommendations to the government that will support the better management of Canada’s fisheries, including passing and implementing a new Fisheries Act, completing rebuilding plans, filling in data gaps and finalizing the Fishery Monitoring Policy.
Explore FisheryAudit.ca to learn more about Canada’s fisheries and join the conversation on social media with #FisheryAudit.