Dear Fisheries and Oceans Canada,
Help sea life escape the net. Take immediate action to reduce bycatch.
The catch of non-target fish and ocean wildlife, or “bycatch,” results in unnecessary waste and harm to sea life. Oceana Canada’s latest report—Collateral damage: How to reduce bycatch in Canada’s commercial fisheries— reveals that there are big holes in Canadian data, that our regulatory approach is inadequate and that hundreds of species end up as bycatch. For example:
- The north Atlantic Swordfish fishery discards approximately 44.8% of its catch, including threatened and endangered sharks and sea turtles, as well as dolphins and whales.
- The Eastern offshore lobster fishery discards approximately 22%, including endangered species like Atlantic cod and northern wolffish.
- The Pacific halibut fishery discards approximately 45%, including endangered basking sharks.
The first step in reducing this waste and unnecessary harm, as well as to protect endangered and threatened species, is to start collecting adequate data and developing a national plan.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, please take action to reduce bycatch.