Oceana Canada Warns the Urgency to Rebuild Fisheries has Never Been Greater in the Face of Climate Change, Overfishing and Biodiversity Loss
Fishery and ocean experts, Indigenous and fishing industry leaders and policymakers come together for the first time in more than half a decade to restore Canada’s depleted wild fisheries
Press Release Date: October 26, 2022
OTTAWA, Traditional, Unceded Territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People – Oceana Canada’s symposium, Rebuilding Abundance: Priorities for a Resilient Ocean in Ottawa today is bringing together leading ocean and fishery experts, Indigenous and fishing industry leaders and policymakers from across Canada, along with award-winning actor and Oceana board chair Sam Waterston known for his roles on Law & Order and Grace and Frankie. The symposium is intended to chart a course for restoring abundance in Canada’s oceans, prioritizing rebuilding depleted fish populations for the long-term health and viability of the country’s coastal communities, seafood economy and oceans. Fisheries rebuilding is an urgent issue, with threats like climate change, overfishing and pollution devastating the oceans.
Since its first symposium in 2016, Oceana Canada has seen significant progress in the government’s efforts to rebuild depleted fish stocks, including injecting new funding into the National Oceans Protection Plan. Oceana Canada has also campaigned for and applauded the introduction of new legislation and regulations to rebuild abundance through the Fisheries Act. However, less than one-third of Canada’s fisheries are considered healthy. There is an urgent need to accelerate government commitments and action to bring Canada’s fish populations back to health, prioritizing thriving fisheries and healthy oceans that build resilience in communities, contribute to the seafood economy and provide essential social-cultural and nutritional value.
“Without immediate action by the Canadian government to rebuild ocean abundance, coastal communities that depend on healthy marine ecosystems are being put at risk. Already faced with climate change-induced threats leading to warming oceans and climate events, such as hurricane Fiona, failing to act on ending overfishing and fisheries mismanagement is creating an uncertain future” said Josh Laughren, Executive Director, Oceana Canada. “There has never been more urgency to come together to accelerate decision-making to build resilience”
The event also includes the participation of The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and Indigenous leader Elder Dr. Albert Marshall, Moose Clan of the Mi’kmaw Nation, both of whom will be joining the event virtually for talks and Q&A sessions. Speakers and panelists include academics from across Canada, representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Fisheries Council of Canada, and Ocean Choice International. Others include fishing industry associations Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) and Skipper Otto, a community-supported fishery, and the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters Federation. Discussions will be moderated by prominent journalists with expertise in fisheries and oceans from across the country.
In November, Oceana Canada will be releasing its sixth annual Fishery Audit, an analysis of Canada’s fisheries and how they are being managed. Since the first audit was conducted in 2017, the data has found that Canada is still overfishing depleted stocks, such as capelin, and is consistently failing to support rebuilding wild fish populations or take into consideration the threats such as climate change to the country’s most economically valuable stocks, invertebrates including snow crab and lobster.
Today’s symposium agenda focuses on three core themes:
- An Abundant Ocean is Possible: what is the potential for rebuilding abundance in Canada’s oceans in the next decade
- An Abundant Ocean is our Legacy: what are the growth opportunities for food security, income and livelihoods in coastal communities?
- Unlocking Canada’s potential for a thriving blue economy: what changes to ocean governance and investment is required over the next five years?
For a full list of speakers and bios and to learn more about Rebuilding Abundance: Priorities for a Resilient Ocean please visit: https://oceana.ca/en/oceana-canadas-science-symposium.
Oceana Canada has partnered with Only One on digital communications to raise awareness and grassroots support to rebuild fisheries, thanks to support from Becht Foundation. To date, nearly 40,000 people have signed a petition calling on Canada’s Fisheries Minister to stop overfishing in Canada.
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. Twitter: @OceanaCAN