The better the data that fisheries managers have, the better the decisions they can make. And when science information is produced in a timely way and is made publicly available, it supports transparent decision making, allowing Canadians to have increased confidence in how our fisheries and oceans are managed.
To track Canada’s progress in improving fish stock health, Oceana Canada uses a set of key science indicators that are consistent with DFO policy guidelines.
Stocks with sufficent data to assign health status
Purpose: Allow scientists to make robust estimates of how many fish are in the water and assign stock heath status.
Stocks with recent biomass estimates
Purpose: Help managers make decisions based on recent estimatesΔ of how many fish are in the water.
Several stocks haven’t been assessed since 2014 and are therefore considered outdated in this year’s analysis.
Δ Within the last five years.
An upper stock reference point identifies the boundary above which a fishery can be considered healthy, while a limit reference point identifies the boundary below which it can be considered to be in a critical state. Corrective action should be taken before a stock reaches the limit reference point.
According to government expectations outlined in its policies, decision-making processes should be open and transparent, and the public should have access to scientific findings and advice as early as possible. However, less than five per cent of DFO’s scientific publications were released on time.
Stocks with reference points established
Purpose: Allow managers to assess whether a stock is in healthy, cautious or critical condition, set appropriate harvest levels based on status and gauge the success of management measures.
Limit reference point
Upper stock reference
Stocks with fishing mortality estimates
Purpose: Help determine the rate of fish removal and sustainable fishing limits.
Stocks with natural mortality estimates*
Purpose: Help make better fisheries management decisions by determining the rate at which fish naturally die.
Science publications released on time*
Purpose: Make better fisheries management decisions by providing the most up-to-date information publicly available.
*New indicator in 2018.