Oceana Canada’s annual Fishery Audit reports on the state of fish stocks and tracks progress on how well the government is meeting its policy and management commitments. This year’s Audit reveals that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has not implemented many proven tools needed to rebuild depleted fish population. Key findings include:

• Only 29 per cent of Canada’s fish stocks are known to be healthy, down from just over 34 per cent healthy in 2017.
• The number of stocks considered to be critically depleted has increased to 17 per cent from 13 per cent in 2017, requiring immediate action from the government to rebuild them.
• More crustaceans entered the critical zone in 2019, which is particularly worrying because the value of Canada’s seafood industry depends heavily on crustaceans.
• Only 18 per cent of Canada’s critically depleted fish population have plans in place to rebuild them to healthy levels.
• Canada must implement its long-awaited National Fishery Monitoring Policy and ensure all commercial fisheries have sufficient levels of monitoring with accurate total catch estimates.



Victory: Canada now has a modernized Fisheries Act, making rebuilding fish populations the law. 

Oceana Canada is working to rebuild abundance in Canada’s fisheries. In the 1950s, Canada had the seventh most productive wild fishery in the world. Today, we have dropped to 21st place. By consistently implementing internationally proven principles of fisheries management, we can recover our threatened fish populations.

To accomplish this, Oceana Canada’s campaigns address significant barriers to fisheries recovery, tackling issues that offer the greatest potential to restore Canada’s depleted fish populations within our lifetime.

Oceans of Opportunity: The Economic Case for Rebuilding Northern Cod

An Oceana Canada-commissioned study, Oceans of Opportunity: The economic case for rebuilding northern cod, found that a healthy northern cod fishery could provide 16 times more jobs and five times more economic value than what its worth today. With low fishing pressure and favourable environmental conditions, the fishery could recover in as few as 11 years, supporting 26,000 jobs and increasing in value to $233 million in today’s dollars. This study shows that the long-term potential of this fishery vastly outweighs the limited returns we might get from it now. The good news is that northern cod has tremendous potential to bounce back to healthy levels and support a lucrative, sustainable fishery.

Oceana Canada is calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to set a quota and implement a rebuilding plan that supports recovering the population and allowing the fishery to achieve its full potential.

Read Oceans of Opportunity: The economic case for rebuilding northern cod here