World-leading conservation measures included in amended Fisheries Act, WWF-Canada says | WWF-Canada

World-leading conservation measures included in amended Fisheries Act, WWF-Canada says

Posted on 21 June 2018
Bear with salmon in Great Bear Rainforest
© WWF-Canada / Steph Morgan
TORONTO, June 21, 2018 – This week the House of Commons passed a newly updated Fisheries Act that positions Canada as a global leader in rebuilding fish populations and safeguarding fish habitat by protecting the flow of water. 
Sigrid Kuehnemund, vice-president of ocean conservation for WWF-Canada, says:
“Decades of unsustainable fishing practices have shrunk many marine species populations, resulting in biodiversity loss and economic loss for coastal communities. In the face of such loss, it is essential for any modern fisheries legislation to go beyond protecting existing fish habitat and to ensure the recovery and rebuilding of fish populations. If implemented and supported by strong regulations that set targets and timelines for rebuilding stocks, this act will be an important step to ensuring the long-term sustainability of fish populations and fisheries in Canada.”
Elizabeth Hendriks, vice-president of freshwater conservation for WWF-Canada, says: 
“A naturally flowing river is a key feature of a healthy river, and it is a huge win for nature that this is recognized in the new proposed Fisheries Act. When we disrupt flow – by blocking it with a dam, or changing runoff with nearby forestry practices – we risk disrupting the entire ecosystem, driving wildlife declines and community impacts. Maintaining natural environmental flows will become even more important in the face of climate change, as resilient and unaltered watersheds can better adapt to changes in temperature. In considering flow, this government has moved beyond restoring lost protections and has created a truly modern act that reflects the complex challenges facing watersheds.”
Other important aspects of the new legislation include:
  • Protection for all fish and fish habitat, not just fish related to commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fisheries.  
  • Stronger protections for fish populations and habitat through ecosystem-based management coupled with the precautionary approach. 
  • A requirement that Indigenous traditional knowledge inform decisions that will impact habitat. 
  • A requirement to consider impact on Indigenous rights and people. 
  • The ability to make regulations for the conservation and protection of marine biodiversity. 
  • The ability to quickly put in place short-term measures to respond to threats to fish that may suddenly arise.  
  • A new public registry with information about licenses and project decisions that addresses the issue of transparency.
  • Enhanced monitoring capacity and more funding for enforcement.
About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit
For further information
Rebecca Spring, senior communications specialist,, +1 647-338-6274
Bear with salmon in Great Bear Rainforest
© WWF-Canada / Steph Morgan Enlarge