Statement from Kim Elmslie, Oceana Canada’s Campaign Director, regarding “Red Listing” on Canadian fisheries that pose a dire risk to North Atlantic right whales

Press Release Date: September 6, 2022

Media contacts: Lesley Wilmot, Oceana Canada, lwilmot@oceana.ca, 647-5356326; Angela Pinzon, Pilot PMR, angela.pinzon@pilotpmr.com, 647-295-0517

Ottawa, ON – Today, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program added over a dozen Canadian and U.S. fisheries, including lobster and snow crab, to its “Red List” of seafood because they currently pose risks to the survival of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. Seafood Watch provides recommendations for seafood buyers based on sustainability criteria. The “Red List” recommends that businesses and consumers avoid purchasing certain seafood because they are caught or farmed in ways that have a high risk of harming wildlife or the environment.

Oceana in the U.S. issued this press release, and Oceana Canada’s campaign director Kim Elmslie released this statement, following the announcement:

“Today’s listing by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch is one more clear reason why the Canadian government must do all it can to protect North Atlantic right whales from entanglements in fishing gear and vessel strikes.  Saving these whales from these threats is vital to protecting them from extinction, and to safeguard market access for some of the most lucrative fisheries in Atlantic Canada.

Oceana Canada is calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to take the following actions to protect right whales:

  1. Transition the government’s approach to right whale protection from one that is temporary and reactive to one that is permanent, adaptable and transparent, ensuring certainty with decision-making and involving all stakeholders
  2. Reduce the risk of entanglement by limiting the number of vertical lines and gillnets in the water where right whales are present by continuing to support alternative fishing gear, such as ropeless and pop-up gear; and
  3. Continue to improve existing measures that require fishing gear to be removed and vessels to be slowed when whales are present.”

To learn more about Oceana’s campaign to save North Atlantic right whales from extinction, please click here.

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 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.