Federal environmental commissioner finds DFO negligent in fisheries monitoring and data management



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HALIFAX, N.S. — The federally appointed commissioner responsible for auditing Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s fisheries monitoring is accusing DFO of failing to deliver on a promise made seven years ago to collect better commercial stock data.

Jerry V. DeMarco, Canada’s Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development, said that a recent review of the department’s activities found that while DFO had developed a fisheries monitoring policy, it had not yet been properly implemented, and that “the policy found that it was not supported by the public. An action plan with dedicated resources. ”

The DFO information management system was also found to be in need of modernization, despite spending nearly $31 million on a data integration system across multiple regions.

DeMarco said the department has “delivered only the initial modules of this new system, but has extended the system’s interregional delivery schedule by 10 years, from 2020 to 2030.”

Additionally, significant weaknesses in monitoring and supervision practices were identified, demonstrating that there has been no improvement since they were first noted seven years ago.

“This means the department does not know whether the information it receives is reliable, timely, or whether it meets monitoring requirements,” the audit report said. states.

The committee also tasked DFO with reviewing the expiring third-party observer program to address compliance, potential conflicts of interest, coverage, and lack of quality and timely data.

Regarding the latter, DeMarco said Canada cannot know which commercial stocks are being overfished.

“The dramatic decline in Atlantic cod populations in the 1990s had far-reaching economic and social consequences, and it is far more expensive and difficult to restore depleted stocks than to maintain healthy cod populations to begin with. We showed that.”

DeMarco’s full report is available online.

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