Oceana Canada to DFO: Failure to Close Capelin Fishery Ignores Science and Continues Overfishing On Stock that Feeds an Entire Ecosystem
DFO Ignores Voices of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, Its Own Science and the Law
Press Release Date: June 23, 2023
Ottawa, traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People– Today, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) ignored science, policy and community voices by announcing it will continue to allow commercial fishing on overfished and critically depleted capelin, which play an essential role in feeding the ocean ecosystem, maintaining a harvest quota at 14,533t. Below is Oceana Canada’s response from marine scientist Jack Daly:
“Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray has ignored the voices of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians — 84 per cent of whom wanted to see the fishery paused in order to rebuild, according to recent market research. Minister Murray also neglected the science and the law by keeping the 2023 commercial capelin fishery open for the season. This population has been critically depleted for 30 years and is at just seven per cent of its pre-collapse levels. Continued fishing severely limits the ability of this stock to rebuild, threatening the health of other commercial fish stocks which rely on capelin, like cod, and the entire Northwest Atlantic ecosystem.
This year, DFO’s own scientific assessment found that the stock is deep in the “critical” zone, where fishing should stop. Capelin continues to spawn later and is maturing earlier, limiting the ability of the next generation to enter the ocean ecosystem. The decision to allow fishing on the critically depleted capelin stock fails to protect this small but vitally important species and the communities and industries that rely on it.
Oceana Canada is urging Minister Murray to prioritize rebuilding abundance of this and other depleted fish stocks. If given the chance to rebuild, future harvest levels can support a thriving coastal ecosystem and bring long-term social, cultural, and economic benefits to local communities.”
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.