Ottawa, ON – Every year, an estimated 26 million tonnes of caught fish is unaccounted for. This illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing threatens the seafood trade, global food security, jobs and livelihoods, safety at sea, and marine life and ecosystems. IUU fishing puts honest Canadian workers in the fish harvest industry at a disadvantage as they face unfair competition from low-priced fish caught illegally.
Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Sean Casey, announced Canada’s ratification of the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. This international agreement, which enters into force for Canada tomorrow, July 20, sends a strong message that Canada will not tolerate IUU fishing, and will protect the honest good work of Canadian fish workers.
The Port State Measures Agreement will help combat IUU fishing by:
- granting officials additional powers to deny port entry and use of port services for vessels carrying illegally harvested fish; and
- increasing protection and monitoring at Canadian ports during all stages of fishing operations, including vessel registration, fish harvesting, and fish trade.
Since all fish must come through a port before going to market, limiting port access is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to eliminate IUU fishing.
There is international momentum building to help solve the global issue of illegal fishing. The ratification of the Port State Measure Agreement is one of the many ways the Government of Canada has demonstrated its commitment to end illegal fishing. Most recently, Canada participated in the Canadian Space Agency’s RADARSAT Constellation Mission, which launched three new satellites that will provide maritime surveillance to remotely identify and track suspected IUU vessels. Over the last year alone, Canada contributed $1.2 million to Global Fishing Watch to analyze fishing activity around the world and ratified the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean.
“Canada is serious about ending illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. We are working with international partners to achieve this goal. We have invested in innovative technology to track and share regional and global fishing activity data. By preventing fish and seafood products derived from IUU fishing from entering our ports, we will not only help level the playing field for Canadian harvesters and Canadian businesses involved in the fish and seafood trade: we are also sending a very strong message that Canada’s ports have zero tolerance for illegally caught fish.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“Canada is now in position to join several countries that limit port access to foreign vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing that is emptying our oceans of fish and seafood. With the ratification of this legally-binding Agreement, Canada has stronger rules and standards to deny vessel access to ports and thus prevent fish products from IUU fishing getting to Canadian markets.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
In November 2009, members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (including Canada), adopted the Port State Measure Agreement (PSMA).
Canada signed the PSMA in 2010. In 2015, Parliament passed the PMSA Implementation Act, which included various amendments to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act (CFPA) to align the Act with the PSMA.
The concurrent coming into force of the Amendments to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Regulations (CFPR) and the PSMA Act in 2019 has allowed Canada to ratify the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA).