Ottawa, ON – June 5th is the International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing.
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing poses a serious risk to our global oceans and economy. It threatens the livelihoods of law-abiding fish harvesters and it damages our marine ecosystems, and the countless lifeforms they sustain.
The scale of its threat cannot be ignored. IUU fishing accounts for about 30 per cent of all fishing activity worldwide, removing up to 26 million tonnes of fish from our oceans annually. It can generate up to $23 billion a year in illegal profits.
The Government of Canada has taken strong, consistent action to stop IUU fishing around the world. Some valuable Canadian fish stocks-such as tuna and salmon-also share ecosystems or migrate into areas where an increased threat of IUU fishing exists. With 75,000 Canadians employed in the fishing and aquaculture sector, the government will continue working hard to protect these livelihoods and the valuable resources they depend on.
To combat IUU fishing, the Government of Canada launched the new Dark Vessel Detection program. This program is providing state-of-the-art satellite data and analysis to small island nations and coastal states-like Ecuador-where IUU fishing is a significant concern.
We are also working with our international partners to support the rules-based international order that ensure sustainable international fisheries and oceans management. Canada played a leading role in the development of the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement – the international treaty that created the framework for the development of regional fisheries management organizations to manage fish stocks in the high seas.
Canada’s international efforts also include ratifying the United Nations Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.
The Government of Canada will continue to harness the collective capabilities of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, Global Affairs Canada, and Canada Space Agency to fight IUU fishing.
The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Since 2018, the Government of Canada has honoured its commitment to fight IUU fishing by:
- Ratifying the United Nations Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, which will give fishery officers enhanced powers to prevent illegally harvested fish and seafood products from entering the international market through Canadian ports.
- Participating in the Canadian Space Agency’s RADARSAT Constellation Mission, which will launch three new satellites to provide data for a wide range of uses, including maritime surveillance.
- Ratifying the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean, which prohibits commercial fishing in the high seas portion of the central Arctic Ocean while research is conducted to learn about the ecosystem and the potential for future sustainable harvesting.
- Contributing $1.2 million to Global Fishing Watch to support the continued growth of its free, open-source mapping platform to track and analyse fishing activity around the world. In 2020, contributing over $200 thousand to support their Marine Manager portal to support marine spatial planning, MPA management, and scientific research.
- Launching the $7 million Dark Vessel Detection program to locate and track vessels whose location transmitting devices have been switched off, sometimes in an attempt to evade monitoring, control and surveillance.