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

The Vancouver Island Crisis Society has seen a five per cent rise in call volumes compared to this time last year. (Black Press Media file photo)
Winter blues a concern for Vancouver Islanders during COVID-19 Christmas season

Statistics show British Columbians anticipate worsening mental health

Jason Soukochoff is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, say Victoria police. (Courtesy VicPD)
Victoria police seek man with violent criminal history against elderly

Jason Soukochoff wanted on Canada-wide warrant for parole violations

Bystanders attend to a cyclist who is knocked to the pavement of Oak Bay Avenue. Witnesses say the cyclist was knocked off their bike in a dooring incident on Oak Bay Avenue at Fell Street at around 12:40 p.m. on Wednesday. 
(Daniel Opden Dries Photo)
UPDATED: VicPD tickets driver for ‘dooring’ cyclist on Oak Bay Avenue

Incident occurred at Oak Bay Avenue and Fell Street

West Shore RCMP pulled over a 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee on Nov. 23 after noting that it didn’t appear safe for the road. (West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP pull over vehicle held together by tape and cargo strap

RCMP deemed the vehicle unsafe for the road and had it towed away

An Oak Bay municipal crew finishes off a job by laying hot asphalt in place on Dalhousie Street. The District of Oak Bay is in the process of completing a number of underground infrastructure projects, part of its long term asset renewal plan for the municipality. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Oak Bay’s Uplands sewer, storm line separation project awaits funding

Federal/provincial infrastructure grant announcement expected next spring

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

An excavator was stolen from a rural property south of Nanaimo this month, say police. (Photos submitted)
Excavator stolen from property south of Nanaimo

Bobcat Mini believed to have been stolen between Nov. 12-14, say RCMP

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Most Read