To avoid overfishing and guide rebuilding efforts, fisheries managers need to know how many fish are being caught. Over the past five years, more information has been made publicly available on the monitoring tools intended to be in place for each fishery, such as logbooks, at-sea monitoring, dockside monitoring or a combination of each. While some monitoring tools have been widely implemented, DFO acknowledges that monitoring targets are inconsistent across regions and fisheries. Moreover, no information is publicly available on how targets are set, whether they are met or whether they provide the information needed for science-based fisheries management.
DFO must prioritize implementing its Fishery Monitoring Policy, which sets national standards for catch monitoring objectives, methods and expectations. To date, this hasn’t been done in any fishery. There are some recent signs of progress, however: this year, for the first time, implementing the policy was included as a priority in DFO’s 2021/22 Sustainable Fisheries Framework work plan.
It’s time to implement Canada’s Fishery Monitoring Policy — so we have dependable data on where, when and how many fish are harvested.