About the Sustainability Survey for Fisheries

Learn how we use the Sustainability Survey for Fisheries, select fish stocks and assign uncertain status.

On this page

Framework and survey

The Sustainable Fisheries Framework sets national policies to guide the management of Canada’s fisheries. We conduct the Sustainable Survey for Fisheries to track our progress and gather other information about major fish stocks. Survey results help us set priorities to improve how we manages fisheries.

Once fishing seasons end, our scientists and resource managers complete the survey for the stocks in their regions. This results in a survey reporting on the previous year’s data. However, we use more recent data if it’s available.

We conduct and publish the survey annually.

Purpose of the survey

We use the survey to:

Selection of fish stocks

A number of factors determine which fish stocks we select for the survey. Normally more than one factor applies to a selected stock. Stocks included in the survey include those that are:

Stocks in the survey represent key or major stocks harvested in federally-managed fisheries. They are referred to as the major stocks or the major stocks’ list. The list of stocks on the survey may change over time.

Uncertain status

We give a stock ‘uncertain status’ if we don’t have enough information to assign it to a precautionary approach zones, such as:

In instances when we lack information on a fish stock, we factor this uncertainty into the decision to set the harvest level. Greater uncertainty leads us to set more precautionary harvest levels.

Our goal is always to manage fisheries sustainably for the long-term benefit of all Canadians.