Canada’s fisheries management needs a ‘wake-up call’: audit

Atlantic herring is a hearty source of protein for people and marine mammals alike, but like a startling number of Canada’s fish stocks the plan to rebuild the depleted herring population is currently one big question mark. That’s a conclusion reached by advocacy group Oceana Canada, which published its second annual fisheries audit Tuesday – a report card assessing the health of Canada’s fish stocks.

The report found Canada has a lot of work to do to reverse the term decline of its fish stocks, and it needs to pick up the pace.

Oceana’s science director Robert Rangeley said he hopes the audit is a “wake-up call” for better fisheries management.

“My biggest fear is one of complacency,” said Rangeley. “We’re still hovering around one-third of our fish stocks (that) are healthy, which is very poor performance for the 194 stocks that are so important for coastal communities.”

Only 34 per cent of Canada’s fish stocks are considered healthy. Twenty-nine per cent are in a critical or cautious zone, and perhaps most alarmingly, 37 per cent of stocks don’t have sufficient data to assign a health status.

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