Redfish Fishery Reopens with New Strong Measures but Questionably High Quota  - Oceana Canada

Redfish Fishery Reopens with New Strong Measures but Questionably High Quota 

Press Release Date: June 6, 2024

Media contacts: Vaishali Dassani, Oceana Canada,, 647-294-3335;
Angela Pinzon, Pilot PMR,, 647-295-0517

Halifax, NS, Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People – On May 31st, 2024, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced the 2024-2025 quota and management plan for the Redfish Stock in Unit 1 with a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 60,000 tonnes, increased from an initial TAC of 25,000 tonnes. Redfish Advisory Committee participants, including Oceana Canada, met on June 5th to discuss the new management plan and the reopening of this fishery that has been closed for nearly 30 years. Below is the response to the release of the management plan and quota from Rebecca Schijns, Fishery Scientist, Oceana Canada:

“The reopening of the redfish fishery marks a new hopeful chapter for Atlantic fisheries. The plan incorporates findings from the experimental redfish fishery and stakeholder feedback while following modern fisheries policies and practices. As a result, the plan includes a suite of strong monitoring and management measures, aimed to limit bycatch. The management plan’s approach to bycatch balances fishery duration with the urgent need to avoid catching commercially important species (e.g., halibut), depleted species (e.g., Atlantic cod, white hake), and undersized redfish.

However, this new fishery is starting off with high levels of fishing at 60,000 tonnes, which runs the risk of undermining rebuilding efforts. This decision comes following the Minister’s initial, more conservative quota of 25,000 tonnes. The financial viability of a large quota is questionable as redfish, smaller than historical sizes, fetch less than 50 cents per pound and are primarily used as bait. Starting with a lower TAC and gradually increasing it offers a crucial window for market development without oversupply. Giving time for the fishery to adapt to new management measures and gather data on the impact of increased trawling on habitats and species. Despite the redfish stock’s remarkable recovery after a 30-year moratorium, scientific evidence shows growth has peaked, and stock biomass will likely plummet within a decade, underscoring the need for a cautious approach.

To safeguard the redfish population and its habitat as well as limit interference with the recovery of critical stocks taken as bycatch, we urge DFO to enforce full monitoring compliance under the new management plan throughout the fishing season, apply modern measures to the same redfish populations in Unit 2, and establish science-based harvest control rules by the next season to ensure a healthy, stable fishery continues for the near future.”

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