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Fisheries Act

Tavish Campbell Herring - Fisheries Act

To protect fisheries, their habitat and the full range of marine and freshwater biodiversity, we need strong laws. We advocate for a modern Fisheries Act.

The Fisheries Act is one of Canada’s oldest environmental laws, establishing the framework for conservation of fish species, management of fisheries and protection of habitat that supports them. There’s a wealth of scientific and Indigenous knowledge available on protecting fish and managing fisheries; West Coast Environmental Law Association is working to help translate that knowledge into law and policy to support sound decision-making that will sustain fish populations.

Scientists identify loss of fish habitat as a primary cause of fisheries decline. West Coast’s work supports modernization of the Fisheries Act, including comprehensive habitat protection to recover declining freshwater and marine fish populations.

Clear and enforceable habitat provisions will help to ensure that fisheries remain healthy for future generations. A modern law updated to address 21st century issues will also help realize the federal government’s commitments to restore lost protections and introduce modern safeguards to this vital Act.

Our review of the Fisheries Act, its implementation and fisheries laws from other jurisdictions has produced recommendations for strengthening the Act. This includes:

  • Protecting key areas and elements of fish habitat;
  • Protecting fish habitat from key activities that can damage habitat, such as destructive fishing practices;
  • Protecting fish habitat from key threats, such as climate change; and
  • Modernization of fisheries governance, including providing for support of co-governance and co-management of fisheries with First Nations.

You can read more about these recommendations in our briefs:

For more information about Canada’s ongoing review of the Fisheries Act, click here.


Top photo: Tavish Campbell