DFO continues to make uneven progress in the key management indicators assessed in this Fishery Audit.
In the past year, the government passed a modernized Fisheries Act that included provisions to rebuild depleted fish populations. More stocks — almost 90 per cent — are now included in IFMPs, and DFO has completed four rebuilding plans for stocks of northern shrimp, yellowtail flounder and Atlantic cod.
DFO also made progress in developing LRPs and harvest control rules — the rules that describe how a stock must be managed.
Even with this progress there are still major gaps. DFO must release and implement its long-promised National Fishery Monitoring Policy and ensure that fisheries have sufficient levels of monitoring, with accurate estimates of all retained and discarded catches.
The number of stocks in the critical zone has increased. The number of stocks with recent biomass estimates has dropped, and progress on developing rebuilding plans has been slow. And while DFO has determined the causes of delays in publishing science information, it has yet to address them.
11 Based on the average annual increase in the percentage of index stocks with each indicator over the last three years.
Credit: Ocean Exploration Trust, WHOI MISO, Northeast Pacific Seamount Expedition Partners
At the current rate,11 it will take six more years until all index stocks have an LRP, 26 more years until all have a USR, and 24 more years until all critically depleted index stocks are included in a rebuilding plan.