Since Oceana Canada was established in 2015, we’ve been campaigning on reforming the Fisheries Act to require rebuilding plans when stocks are depleted. It’s a priority because we know it’s one of the biggest ways we can make an impact for the health of our fisheries and the oceans.

Internationally, we’ve seen how strong laws requiring rebuilding plans helps recover depleted fish populations. The United States and the European Union legally require rebuilding plans be put in place when a fish population is in decline. In the U.S. alone, this has led to an incredible 32 fish stocks being rebuilt since 2006, generating 54 per cent more revenue than when they were overfished.

Canada’s depleted fish populations need to be rebuilt, so we can reap the social, cultural and economic benefits that come with healthy fisheries. That’s why Oceana Canada has been calling for a Fisheries Act that legally requires rebuilding plans for all depleted fish populations.

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.

Campaign progress

We’ve been working tirelessly with the Canadian government, Indigenous Peoples, communities and other stakeholders to strengthen the Fisheries Act for the benefit of our oceans and everyone who relies on them. Here are some of the milestones we’ve accomplished so far:

  • Currently: Bill C-68 is being studied by the Senate. If it becomes law and is supported by strong regulations, it could signal a turning point in the health of Canada's fisheries. 
  • June, 2018:  Bill C-68 passed “Third Reading” in the House of Commons. The Bill includes a historic change in how Canada manages our fisheries: for the first time since the Fisheries Act was enacted in 1868, this Bill directs the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to manage fish stocks sustainably, and to put rebuilding plans in place for depleted stocks. This is a historic step in the right direction but strong regulations are still needed to ensure the new Act is effective in securing a healthy future for Canada’s oceans.  
  • February, 2018: The government announced a new Fisheries Act (Bill C-68) which included provisions for rebuilding fish populations, but the current proposed language is weak. Without stronger wording, the Act will continue to leave depleted fish populations unprotected.
  • August, 2017: We worked with the Assembly of First Nations, calling on the government to make rebuilding fish populations a priority.
  • July, 2017: Oceana Canada Wavemakers contributed to the public consultation process on Fisheries Act amendments.
  • November, 2016: Oceana Canada presented to the House of Commons Standing Committee, outlining how creating a modern Fisheries Act could rebuild fish populations. This presentation helped ensure that the committee’s report to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, included a recommendation for rebuilding fish populations.

More information

Oceana Canada's annual Fishery Audit analyzes the current state of fisheries in Canada. Head to FisheryAudit.ca to learn more.