Today, Canada is one step closer to rebuilding its fisheries thanks to Bill-68, which passed “Third Reading” in the House of Commons and now will be debated in the Senate. The Bill includes a historic change in how Canada manages our fisheries: for the first time since the Fisheries Act was enacted in 1868, this Bill directs the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to manage fish stocks sustainably, and to put rebuilding plans in place for depleted stocks. Measures to ensure the health of Canada’s fish populations, and to rebuild them to healthy levels if depleted, were not previously in the Act – an absence that has left them vulnerable to decline, often with no action to support their recovery. The inclusion of a duty to rebuild our fish populations in the proposed Act could, when implemented, put Canada’s fisheries on a path to abundance, bringing the nation closer to the modern fisheries management laws already implemented in some other leading fishing nations.
When the law is enacted, it will represent over two years of campaigning by Oceana Canada. We worked closely with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, NGO allies, First Nations, fishers and other stakeholders to bring this change to fruition.
Of course, our work is not done: the Bill allows the Minister to exempt stocks from these requirements for socio-economic reasons, and many details still need to be outlined in regulations. For the Act to be successful, these regulations must set targets and timelines for rebuilding plans for depleted fish populations, and must provide guidance on the use of exceptions so that they are only used in rare and truly exceptional circumstances.
We hope you will continue to support Oceana Canada by joining us as a Wavemaker, connecting with us on social media and sharing the importance of ocean protection. Together, we can save the oceans and feed the world!
Why is rebuilding fisheries really important?
Listen to what leading experts say is at stake if we don’t rebuild depleted fish populations in Canada: