` Oceana Fishery Audit 2020



In the year ahead, Oceana Canada urges DFO to address the most critical fisheries management gaps, including:

  • Complete regulations to bring into force the new provisions in the Fisheries Act, including identifying major stocks and requiring targets and timelines for completed rebuilding plans;
  • Address inconsistencies in catch monitoring by implementing the national Fishery Monitoring Policy introduced in November 2019; and
  • Develop and implement high-quality rebuilding plans that include targets and timelines for stocks identified in the 2020/21 work plans.

DFO should also continue to add to, update and publicly release its fiscal-year work plans, developed in response to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development’s 2016 audit. These work plans should use the best available science to inform the completion of deliverables.

To-Do Checklist

In addition to addressing the priorities laid out on the previous page, Oceana Canada calls on DFO to complete the following actions within the next year in order to accelerate the implementation of the department’s Sustainable Fisheries Framework. This includes fulfilling ongoing commitments or those that have been delayed from previous work plans, as well as those scheduled to be completed this fiscal year:



  Invest resources in timely stock assessments that include estimates of mortality from all sources, prioritizing stocks that do not have assessments or that have assessments that are more than five years old.

  Address the causes of delays in publishing science information and improve publication timeliness.

  Prioritize establishing reference points to define health status zones and develop harvest control rules for each zone.

  • Develop LRPs for eight more stock groups, ensuring at least nine more index stocks have new or updated LRPs next year, increasing the percentage of index stocks with LRPs to 67 per cent.
  • Develop USRs for three more stock groups, ensuring at least six more index stocks have a new or updated USR next year, increasing the percentage of index stocks with USRs to 49 per cent.
  • Develop Harvest Control Rules for two more stock groups, ensuring at least two more index stocks have new or updated Harvest Control Rules next year.


  Implement the Fishery Monitoring Policy to ensure all commercial fisheries have sufficient monitoring to provide accurate estimates of all retained and discarded catches.

  • Include a published work plan with timelines to guide policy implementation.


  Prioritize completing and publishing management plans.

  • Develop and publish IFMPs for 19 stock groups, ensuring at least 23 more index stocks are included in a publicly available IFMP next year, increasing the percentage of index stocks with new or updated IFMPs to 93.3 per cent.
  • Develop and publish rebuilding plans for 14 more stocks, including northern cod (NAFO 2J3KL), Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic herring – southern Gulf of St. Lawrence spring spawners and Pacific herring – Haida Gwaii

  Set priorities and timelines for completing rebuilding plans for all stocks in the critical zone and those in the cautious zone that are declining toward, or have declined to, half of their USR.