The new Fisheries Act is now law, and the government has committed $100 million to assess and rebuild fish stocks. This provides a rare opportunity for ambitious progress in 2020 and beyond to create change on the water, increasing the number of stocks in the healthy zone and building resilience to climate change. In the year ahead, DFO's top priorities should be:
In addition to completing rebuilding regulations to fulfil the intent of the Fisheries Act, Oceana Canada calls on DFO to complete, at a minimum,the following actions within the next year.
Invest resources in timely stock assessments that include estimates of mortality from all sources, prioritizing stocks that do not have assessments or have assessments that are more than five years old.
Address the causes of delays in the publication of science information.
Continue to develop reference points for all stocks to define health status zones and develop associated harvest control rules for each zone. Specifically, fulfil commitments to develop:
Complete and publish the National Fishery Monitoring Policy, to ensure fisheries have sufficient monitoring, with accurate estimates of all retained and discarded catches. Publish a work plan to guide implementation of the policy.
Complete and publish management plans. Specifically, fulfil commitments to develop:
Report on progress toward DFO’s commitment to develop rebuilding plans for 12 stocks by 2021.
Set priorities and timelines for completing rebuilding plans for all stocks in the critical zone.
Ensure rebuilding plans are informed by recent stock assessments and include targets and timelines, as well as evidence-based management measures to promote rebuilding.