Statement from Dr. Robert Rangeley, Oceana Canada’s Director of Science, regarding the closure of Atlantic mackerel and Southern Gulf spring herring fisheries

Press Release Date: March 30, 2022

HALIFAX (March 30, 2022) – Following the announcement by Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray on the closure of the commercial and bait fisheries for Atlantic mackerel and Southern Gulf spring herring, Oceana Canada has released this statement from Dr. Robert Rangeley, Director of Science.

Today, we commend Minister Joyce Murray on a difficult but necessary decision for conservation and the long-term prosperity of our fisheries, announcing the closure of the commercial and bait fisheries for two critically depleted populations: the Southern Gulf spring-spawning herring and Atlantic mackerel. This action follows the Precautionary Approach Policy, which requires that fishing pressure on critical stocks be kept as low as possible to support rebuilding depleted fish populations back to healthy levels. These forage fish play a crucial role in the Northwest Atlantic ecosystem, as they feed many other species, including cod, tuna, seabirds and whales. The vitality of oceans and coastal communities depends on abundant marine ecosystems. Rebuilding forage fish is essential for the long-term health of Canada’s commercial fisheries. Closing these fisheries is the correct decision. Canada must take care to better manage its forage fish, and we hope future actions will follow to rebuild other depleted wild fish, such as Northeast Newfoundland capelin.

Contact: Tammy Thorne, Oceana Canada,, 437-247-0954

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.