Oceana Canada’s report, Here’s the Catch: How to Restore Abundance to Canada’s Oceans, showed that many fish populations have not recovered after being heavily overfished, and in many cases no rebuilding plans were developed. The reason for this is clear: unlike in many other countries, the government is not required to do so. Canada’s Fisheries Act needs to be modernized to align with international fisheries laws as well as laws in other fishing nations. 

The Fisheries Act has not been updated to be compatible with the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, and it lacks critical legal requirements for targets and timelines for rebuilding stocks and preventing overfishing. The Magnuson-Stevens Act in the United States, for example, lays out clear management actions for stock rebuilding once overfishing has been identified. 

Campaign goal

Reform the Fisheries Act to mandate implementing rebuilding plans for depleted fish populations and require that the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard report annually to Parliament on the status of Canada’s fish populations.

Read Oceana Canada’s presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, Creating Modern Safeguards in the Fisheries Act to Rebuild Fish Stocks in Canada.