Crustaceans in the Pacific are in decline according to Oceana Canada’s recent fisheries audit. (Pixabay photo)

Crustaceans in the Pacific are in decline according to Oceana Canada’s recent fisheries audit. (Pixabay photo)

Advocacy group calls for change as fisheries audit shows decline in healthy fish stocks

Pacific crustacean among the declining populations

An audit of fisheries in Canada points to a decline in healthy fish stocks over the last two years, including crustacean stocks in the Pacific.

The advocacy group Oceana Canada released an annual report Nov. 13, assessing fisheries in the country based on data from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Several fish stocks across the country are in decline according to the report, with many concerns on the Atlantic coast. In the Pacific, however, stocks for fish like Pacific Herring in the Prince Rupert District and Haida Gwaii, Bocaccio rockfish in B.C. waters and yelloweye rockfish in both the inside and outside waters population are in decline.

Crustaceans like pink shrimp and sidestripe shrimp are also newly in decline, something Oceana Canada said could be a problem if it becomes a trend.

“Something we’ve noticed in this audit is that a few more crustacean stock have been added to the critical zone and so much of the seafood industry in Canada is reliant on crustaceans,” said Josh Laughren, Oceana Canada executive director. “If that becomes a trend…if those start to decline, boy our fisheries are in trouble.”

READ ALSO: Audit finds Canada’s fisheries in decline and response lacks urgency

Laughren said the purpose of the audit is to measure the performance of the government against their own commitments; it takes a look at the government’s policies and ranks against their own performance indicators.

However, Oceana Canada found that the government is falling behind in important areas. The group is calling for Ottawa to finalize regulations and set timelines and targets in order to rebuild stocks that are being depleted.

According to the audit, 17 per cent of Canada’s fish stocks are critically depleted, up by four per cent from last year. About 29 per cent of stocks were considered to be healthy, but the stocks that are in a critical or cautious state outnumber the healthy stocks.

A large number of stocks – 38 per cent – are also categorized as uncertain, meaning the Department of Fisheries and Oceans did not have enough data to assess the status of those stocks. There was an increase in the number of uncertain stocks compared to previous years.

READ ALSO: Fisheries finds a new way for residents to report illegal activity

“It bears noting we’re really pleased, in the last four years we’ve seen a big increase in transparency and information from the DFO that allows us to do an audit like this,” Laughren said. “We’ve seen a big increase in funding and hiring…it’s really time that those investments start showing up in these indicators. It’s time to turn money into tangible changes.”

Laughren also noted that the Pacific region is ahead when it comes to observing and monitoring stocks – something Oceana Canada would like to see more of on the east coast.

The report also made note of a new Fisheries Act that was amended in June, calling it a chance to make progress in the field. But regulations are still developing, and Laughren said the government should be making moves to get a plan in place with goals and timelines.

As fish stocks are in decline, Laughren calls the situation a “crisis in slow motion.”

“We’ve lost about 50 per cent of the entire biomass of fish since 1970,” Laughren said. “We’re still slowly declining and if we don’t change that curve we know what will happen.”

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central Saanich will investigate ways in which the municipality along with funding partners Sidney and North Saanich can financially support the Panorama Recreation Centre. (Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich to spell out options for financially supporting Panorama Recreation Centre

Municipality looks for best use of COVID-19 restart grant worth some $3.5 million

The Songhees Wellness Centre is a symbol of First Nations strength in the region. Representatives of local First Nations will soon play a greater role in decision making and governance relating to the Capital Regional District. (Courtesy Royal Roads University)
Capital Regional District to add First Nations representatives to advisory committees

Board approves bylaw, looks forward to Indigenous input on future decisions

Coaches with the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey association have had to get creative during their weekly practices to keep players interested and improving their skills without physical contact. (Damian Kowalewich photo)
West Shore minor hockey coach shares what it’s like on the ice without parents, fans

Most practices consist of relay races, goalie shots and passing drills

Willow, a kitten belonging to a Victoria family, was rescued by firefighters on Thursday after she got stuck in a basement drain pipe. (City of Victoria/Twitter)
Victoria kitten stuck in basement drain pipe rescued by firefighters

Willow the cat on the mend, owner feeling ‘enormous gratitude’

(Black Press Media file photo)
Blue-green algae bloom confirmed in Elk Lake, water-based activities not recommended

Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs, cause health issues for humans

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage addresses the attendees while Tom Olsen, Managing Director of the Canadian Energy Centre, looks on at a press conference at SAIT in Calgary on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Fulmes
‘Morally and ethically wrong:’ Court to hear challenge to Alberta coal policy removal

At least 9 interveners will seek to join a rancher’s request for a judicial review of Alberta’s decision

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Most Read