FOPO Study on DFO Science Reaffirms Commitment to Data-Driven Fisheries Management

March 10, 2023

OTTAWA, ON: The Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC) is pleased to see several recommendations reaffirming data-driven fisheries management in the new study of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) science by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (FOPO) released today. It is a top priority for the Canadian fisheries industry to ensure fishing activity is based on sufficient and sound science.

FCC and several of our members were involved in the consultation process for the study, which aimed to “examine how the Department of Fisheries and Oceans prioritizes, resources and develops scientific studies and advice for the department, how the results of scientific study are communicated to the Minister and Canadians, and how the minister applies data and advice provided by the department and other government departments to ministerial decisions.” During the study, FOPO heard from current and former DFO employees, scientists, and representatives of Indigenous organizations, fishers and fisheries organizations, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders. Several FCC members are quoted in the report.

FOPO concluded that DFO scientists do quality work, but that better implementation of these policies and guidelines is required to make what is “good on paper good in practice”.

The report makes 48 recommendations, including:

  • That the department conducts a review of DFO allocations for science to ensure departmental resources are available for the scientific work in both fisheries and ocean science and to ensure sufficient funding for the stock assessments required for sound management, eco certifications and rebuilding plans.
  • That DFO allocate sufficient resources to conduct timely and comprehensive stock assessments and acoustic surveys for all commercial fish species.
  • That DFO commit to more timely decision-making to provide certainty to fish harvesters and industries impacted by fisheries decisions.
  • That greater emphasis be placed on completing surveys and robust data acquisition, even when vessels break down or are unavailable. That DFO do this by fostering relationships with the fishing industry to utilize commercial fishing license holders and vessels to supplement DFO scientific data collection.

“FCC is pleased with the attention to surveys and stock assessments, including recognition that those are needed for eco-certification, as well as inclusion of collaboration with industry. Additional positives are the recommendation for more timely decision making and the review of fisheries science vs ocean science,” said FCC President Paul Lansbergen. “The industry relies on DFO to make science-based decisions that support our commitment to sustainability, our employees and the economic prosperity of coastal communities.”

FCC will continue to engage with FOPO and DFO to ensure fishing activity is based on sound science.


The Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC) is the voice of Canada’s wild capture fish and seafood industry, promoting a healthy resource and prosperous industry playing a vital role in the Canadian economy. Our members include small, medium and larger-sized companies along with Indigenous enterprises that harvest and process fish from Canada’s three oceans.

For more information or to set up an interview please contact:
Kelly McCarthy
Manager, Communications
[email protected]


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