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

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

June Saxe, 2, enjoys the sunny shoreline at Whiffin Spit with her dad on March 5. The family had come out from Victoria for a day in the sunshine. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Warm weather brings Sooke’s Whiffin Spit to life

Visitors, locals enjoy warm weather at coastal viewpoint

Funding requests for the 2021 budget year, submitted by the Administration and Finance Committee, was approved by Langford council at the Feb. 16 meeting. (Black Press Media file photo)
Food awareness, seniors among Langford’s approved 2021 funding requests

New and returning community organizations to receive financial boost

Underground utility installations are underway on Latoria Boulevard at Latoria Road near Royal Bay Secondary and on Metchosin Road south of Latoria Boulevard. (City of Colwood image)
Road work hinders Colwood drivers in Royal Bay

Underground utility installation could run most of March

A rockfall closed Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATED: Malahat reopens following rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read