A stronger, modernized Fisheries Act becomes law


June 21, 2019

Ottawa, Ontario — This afternoon, Bill C-68 received Royal Assent by the Governor General and has officially become law. This is a victory for the environment, independent fishers, and all Canadians because today, the important amendments to this Act, put forward by our government are being enshrined in law.

Informed by extensive consultations with the public, industry, environmental groups and Indigenous peoples, this modernized Fisheries Act reflects the views of Canadians and will ensure our fisheries continue to grow Canada’s economy and support the livelihood of coastal communities.

A modernized Fisheries Act will benefit all Canadians by:

  • Keeping the benefits of fishing in the hands of independent fish harvesters and their local area by supporting a strong independent inshore fishery in Atlantic Canada and Quebec;
  • Providing, restoring and strengthening protections for all fish and fish habitat, while rebuilding our fish stocks;
  • Bringing clarity to development projects for industry and businesses; and,
  • Strengthening the role of Indigenous communities in project reviews, monitoring and fish habitat decisions. The modernized Act promotes the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership with Indigenous peoples.

The Fisheries Act is one of Canada’s oldest pieces of legislation. It is vital to the sustainability of our environment and the prosperity of our coastal communities. With three oceans, over two million rivers and countless lakes, streams and marshes, Canadians deserve and expect a strong Fisheries Act that protects fish and fish habitat.

The Government of Canada knows that protecting and restoring the health of our fish and their habitat means jobs and economic sustainability for communities across this country. That is why we are enshrining the owner operator and fleet separation requirements for fishing licenses into law. Implementing these measures ensures that profits from fishing in Atlantic Canada and Quebec are kept in the hands of local license owners. By requiring that owners fish with their own license, and by preventing seafood producers from also owning fishing licenses ensures that local fish harvesters retain more of the profits from their catch. This keeps prices fair and puts the economic benefit from fisheries on the Atlantic back into local households, families, and supports the prosperity of these coastal communities.

Canadians across this country, on all three coasts, have long been calling for the federal government to implement a modernized Fisheries Act. With this bill becoming law today, we are doing exactly that. We are restoring the protections for fish and their habitat that were lost, and enhancing these protections further, in line with our government’s world class Oceans Protection Plan and unparalleled environmental plan. We are implementing a regulatory framework that is based on community knowledge and science to best manage our fish stocks. This milestone legislation would not have been possible without the leadership and guidance provided by my colleague the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc. We are effectively protecting our environment and meeting the needs of Canadians living in coastal communities in the 21st century.

Our government has answered the calls from Canadians for strong, fair and clear legislation that sustains the health of our environment and protects our fisheries, oceans and waterways today and for the next generation.

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Associated Links

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Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary  
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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