Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner Audit reveals outdated fisheries management
Press Release Date: October 5, 2016
Tuesday’s audit from Canada’s Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner takes a critical look at the current management of Canadian fisheries and lack of reliable data.
Similar to Oceana Canada research, summarized in Here’s the Catch: How to restore Abundance to Canada’s Oceans, the audit reveals that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) lacks key information to make informed management decisions, and in many cases has not implemented the tools needed to sustainably manage our fisheries. Oceana Canada also found that only 24 per cent of Canada’s fish populations can be considered healthy.
“Canada’s fisheries have the potential to be a model for how to balance economic benefits to communities with responsible environmental practices. A healthy and diverse ocean will support the Canadian economy and vibrant coastal communities,” said Josh Laughren, Executive Director, Oceana Canada. “At a time when Canadians are debating how to move the economy and environmental agenda forward, the government must start focusing on rebuilding our fisheries as renewable sources that can provide increased benefits for generations to come.”
Wild seafood requires minimal fresh water to produce, emits little carbon dioxide, does not use arable land, and is a renewable resource. In 2015, the Canadian fishing industry was responsible for $6 billion in exports and employed over 79,000 Canadians.
“We’re encouraged to see that the government has accepted all the audit’s recommendations, and in the last budget committed significant new funds to fisheries science,” said Laughren. “Oceana Canada is now calling for swift implementation of these commitments, including making information publically available, so Canadians can reap the benefits of a healthy ocean and well managed fisheries.”
To address the vulnerable state of Canada’s fisheries, Oceana Canada is hosting a symposium with leading experts to develop a vision to recover and protect our oceans. Rebuilding Abundance: Restoring Canada’s Fisheries for Long-Term Prosperity, takes place on October 26, 2016, in Ottawa, Ontario, at the Westin Hotel.
Additional audit findings:
- There are no comprehensive plans available for 44 of Canada’s 154 major fish stocks. Of those that do exist, many have unclear objectives to measure how well the DFO is managing the stocks and are out of date or incomplete.
- For 12 of the 15 major fish stocks that are in the critical zone, DFO has no plans or timelines for developing rebuilding plans.
About Oceana Canada
Oceana Canada was established in 2015 as an independent charity and is part of the largest international group focused solely on ocean conservation. Canada has the longest coastline in the world, with an ocean surface area of 7.1 million square kilometres, or 70 per cent of its landmass. Oceana Canada believes that we have an obligation to our country, and the world, to manage our natural resources responsibly and provide a sustainable source of protein for a growing world.
Oceana Canada works with civil society, academics, fishers and 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. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.ca.