Last month, the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans released a report which brought much needed attention to the lack of a rebuilding plan for Northern cod.
It has been almost 25 years since the Northern cod collapse that devastated coastal communities and cost more than $2 billion in federal aid. Today, Northern cod is still without a rebuilding plan. The Standing Committee’s report states that “The absence of a rebuilding plan means that, currently, there continue to be no management goals, no target for rebuilding and no target rebuilding rate.”
Oceana Canada is calling for reform of the Fisheries Act to include a mandate to establish rebuilding plans for all depleted fish populations. Without this legal obligation to recover, Canada’s fish populations will continue to languish, with an ongoing economic cost to coastal communities.
Armed with the recommendations made by the Standing Committee, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dominic LeBlanc, has an opportunity to amend the Fisheries Act and provide legal guidance to rebuild depleted fisheries. It’s an historic opportunity to address one of our greatest challenges in managing Canada’s oceans and create a positive legacy of fisheries recovery for generations to come.