PROTECT CAPELIN ABUNDANCE
CRITICALLY DEPLETED CAPELIN ARE BEING OVERFISHED
Oceana Canada is campaigning to close the capelin fishery in northeastern Newfoundland until measures are put in place to allow the fish to recover
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Protecting capelin, a small but vitally important forage fish, from overfishing and restoring their abundance to the northeast Newfoundland ocean ecosystem.
Capelin are a small schooling fish found off the coast across the north Atlantic. These tiny fish are inextricably linked to the ecosystem of northeast Newfoundland, transferring energy through the food web and supporting many species such as humpback whales, cod and puffins.
Despite the failure of the capelin population to recover from a collapsed state since the early 1990s, a fishery is still allowed to operate. The fishery targets the eggs of female capelin, meaning that not only are adults removed from the population, but the next generation is lost too.
Oceana Canada conducted new research in 2022 to assign a provisional health status to capelin and determined that capelin is overfished and would be considered critically depleted. In fact, overfishing has been occurring on capelin for the past three decades. In 2020, fishing was 1.8 times the level that would be considered sustainable for such a depleted stock.
Capelin are incredibly important to the ocean ecosystem but without urgent action, they have a dire outlook for the future.
Oceana Canada is calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to immediately close the capelin fishery, until measures are put in place to allow the population to recover.