It’s estimated that since 1970, Canada has lost more than half its amount of fish, according to a review completed by the conservation group Oceana Canada. It says that only one third of the fish stocks are healthy, 13 per cent are in critical condition and there is not enough information to assess the health of the remaining 36 per cent.
‘Canada has failed’
“We’re suffering, in part, from a legacy of many decades of overfishing,” says Robert Rangeley, director of science at Oceana Canada. “So, once a stock gets to a level which is well below the sustainable amount that one can fish, at that stage it should be closed, the fishery. And they just haven’t recovered.
“And you know, the longer it’s been depleted and the harder it’s been depleted, it takes longer to recover. But we have to put the right measures in place. And Canada has failed to put the effective management in place to recover these stocks.”Listen
Not enough rebuilding plans, says conservationist
Rangeley found that there are 26 marine stocks that are in critical condition and only three of them have a rebuilding plan. He says Canada should change its fishery law to make it mandatory to have such plans where fish stocks are in trouble. The United States is said to have done so 20 years ago and 43 stocks have been rebuilt, generating more than 50 per cent more revenue.
Rangeley says the Canadian government has made good progress on transparency and scientific investment in the oceans and it has committed to developing 5 more rebuilding plans by 2019. These are good first steps he says, but now the government must implement its commitments.