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FOPO Committee Report

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Glossary of Terms


Cautious Zone

A part of the precautionary approach in fisheries management. In the cautious zone, “decisions and strategies promote stock rebuilding to the healthy zone.”[1]

Critical Zone

A part of the precautionary approach in fisheries management. In the critical zone, “stock growth is promoted and removals are kept to the lowest possible level.”[2]

Chief Science Advisor of Canada

The Chief Science Advisors’s key functions are as follows:

  • “Provide advice on the development and implementation of guidelines to ensure that government science is fully available to the public and that federal scientists are able to speak freely about their work;
  • Provide advice on creating and implementing processes to ensure that scientific analyses are considered when the Government makes decisions;
  • Assess and recommend ways to improve the existing science advisory function within the federal government;
  • Assess and recommend ways for the Government to better support quality scientific research within the federal system.”[3]

External Advisory Committee on Aquaculture Science

Created in 2019, this committee is meant to ensure that, among other objectives, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has access to external perspectives when designing aquaculture research programs and policies. The creation of this committee stemmed from recommendations made in the 2018 Report of the Independent Expert Panel on Aquaculture Science.[4]

Healthy Zone

A part of the precautionary approach in fisheries management. In the healthy zone, “the fish stock status is good, and fisheries management decisions and harvest strategies are designed to maintain fish stocks within this zone.”[5]

Independent Expert Panel on Aquaculture Science

A panel led by the Chief Science Advisor with the mandate of “providing the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) with advice and recommendations on the appropriate use of scientific evidence in risk-based aquaculture decision-making, the priority-setting process for aquaculture science at DFO, and the communication of aquaculture science and resulting decisions to Canadians.”[6] The panel’s mandate was fulfilled in December 2018 when the Report of the Independent Expert Panel on Aquaculture Science was presented to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and the Minister of Science and Sport.

Precautionary approach

In fisheries management, the precautionary approach is about “being cautious when scientific knowledge is uncertain, and not using the absence of adequate scientific information as a reason to postpone action or failure to take action to avoid serious harm to fish stocks or their ecosystem. This approach is widely accepted as an essential part of sustainable fisheries management.”[7]

Recovery Potential Assessment

After the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) “assesses an aquatic species as Threatened, Endangered, or Extirpated, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), as the responsible jurisdiction for aquatic species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), undertakes several actions to support implementation of SARA. Many of these actions require scientific information on the current status of the species, threats to its survival and recovery, and the species’ potential for recovery. Formulation of this scientific advice has typically been developed through a Recovery Potential Assessment (RPA) following the COSEWIC assessment. This timing allows for the consideration of peer-reviewed scientific analyses within SARA processes, including the decision whether or not to list a species on Schedule 1, and during recovery planning if the species is listed.”[8]

[2]              Ibid.

[3]              Government of Canada, Office of the Chief Science Advisor.

[4]              Fisheries and Oceans Canada, External Advisory Committee on Aquaculture Science; and Fisheries and Oceans Canada,  Government of Canada moves to strengthen science on aquaculture ensuring protection of wild fish stocks, press release, 28 May 2019.

[6]              Government of Canada, Report of the Independent Expert Panel on Aquaculture Science.

[8]              Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Recovery Potential Assessment for Lower Fraser River White Sturgeon 2020. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2021/011, 2021.