Oceana Canada Statement on Monitoring Marine Fisheries Catch
Press Release Date: November 7, 2023
Toronto, traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples In response to today’s release of the Auditor General report, Monitoring Marine Fisheries Catch, below is a statement from Oceana Canada Fishery Scientist, Rebecca Schijns:
“The Auditor General’s fisheries monitoring report released today sounds another alarm on the pervasive and systemic gaps in Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)’s monitoring program, on top of six years of Oceana Canada’s Fishery Audits calling on the Canadian government to better manage wild fisheries by counting everything caught in them. After years of work and a national Fishery Monitoring Policy being released five years ago, the Auditor General concludes that DFO has failed to implement it and, as a result has inconsistent catch data to support the sustainable management of commercial marine fisheries.
Knowing how many fish are caught in a fishery, known as a fishing mortality estimate, is crucial for making good management decisions. Without this information, it is easier to overfish and prevent rebuilding. Over the years, inadequate monitoring has led to overfishing and income insecurity for fishers through job loss, restricted market access, and increased operational costs, jeopardizing the economic stability of fishing communities.
Better fisheries monitoring has long term economic benefits. It helps fisheries meet eco-certification standards, resulting in higher catch prices. It also facilitates international reporting and helps the fishing industry meet import requirements in other countries, ensuring valuable export markets remain in place or opening the door for new markets to be developed.
Oceana Canada continues to urge DFO to count everything caught in fisheries — including for recreational and bait purposes — and make decisions that account for all sources of fishing mortality. It must accelerate its efforts to modernize fisheries monitoring, including a transition to electronic reporting and monitoring technologies that record all catches. This will ensure that Canada’s lucrative and culturally important wild fisheries will be adequately monitored, which will contribute to better management outcomes.”
Oceana Canada was established as an independent charity in 2015 and is part of the largest international advocacy group dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana Canada has successfully campaigned to ban single-use plastics, end the shark fin trade, make rebuilding depleted fish populations the law, improve the way fisheries are managed and protect marine habitat. We work with civil society, academics, fishers, Indigenous Peoples and the federal government to return Canada’s formerly vibrant oceans to health and abundance. By restoring Canada’s oceans, we can strengthen our communities, reap greater economic and nutritional benefits and protect our future. Find out more at www.oceana.ca.