CEO Note: Update from Canada - Transparency Victory | Oceana
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Oceana Canada symposium

Oceana Canada’s science symposium, Rebuilding Abundance: Restoring Canada’s Fisheries for Long-Term Prosperity, was held on October 26, 2016,.

Photo Credit: Oceana Canada

Good news: the Canadian government just released key information, making its approach to fisheries management more transparent and paving the way for much-needed recovery action. The recent progress Canada has made is truly impressive. You may recall that in March, I wrote: “For too long, a lack of critical information has contributed to the decline of Canada's ocean resources.” Now, less than a year after coming into office, Prime Minister Trudeau has made good on his promises to address these concerns.

The Honorable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, just announced – at a science symposium hosted by Oceana Canada – that his department has made public key information on the status of Canadian fish stocks for the first time, including the results of an annual Sustainability Survey for Fisheries. He also announced plans to invest an additional $24 million annually toward science activities in support of healthy fish populations. Our partners at Oceana Canada have been at the forefront of this fight for transparency, and will be working hard to ensure that the data made available is leveraged to help rebuild Canada’s oceans.

In the past, a lack of data has hindered efforts at effective management in Canada. Earlier this year, Oceana Canada released a report on the health of Canadian fisheries, but was unable to determine the status of 45 percent of the nation’s fish stocks due to this lack of information. Minister LeBlanc specifically referenced the findings of this report in making the new commitment to transparency, which will empower citizens, scientists and the government to take action. Oceana Canada Executive Director Josh Laughren said that “sharing a clear picture of how our fish populations are doing will allow the government to make responsible decisions based on science and allow all Canadians to assess progress in rebuilding our fisheries.”

As we mark this victory, we celebrate the work of our partners at Oceana Canada and applaud the Canadian government for its commitment to a new level of transparency in Canadian fisheries.

Knowing the extent of the problem is the first step toward a solution. As we gain more knowledge about the health of Canada’s oceans, Oceana can continue to push for specific, science-based policies that will allow fish populations to recover. And when the fish come back, they improve the health of ocean ecosystems, provide jobs to Canadians and food for a hungry planet.

For the oceans,

Andrew Sharpless