Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

November 20, 2009 13:28 ET

Building a Sustainable Fisheries Future: World Fisheries Day 2009

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2009) - The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today issued the following statement:

I am pleased to have this opportunity to mark World Fisheries Day 2009 - this event offers us all an opportunity to truly reflect on the economic, social and cultural importance of fishing and to recognize Canada's contributions to the sustainable management of domestic and international fisheries.

Millions of people around the globe rely on fish for nourishment, employment and income. In Canada, our fisheries and aquaculture industries generate $12 billion of economic revenue and provide more than 130,000 jobs to Canadians in more than 1,000 coastal communities.

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canada's fisheries are among the most sustainable in the world, so that we can continue to maintain and grow our seafood markets. Canada works with partners around the world to ensure the conservation and protection of valuable marine resources found in international waters.

From fishers and processors to governments and regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), we all have an important role to play in protecting fish for future generations. The evolution of sustainable fishing practices and management has been further accelerated by growing consumer demands for fish and seafood that is not only safe and healthy, but also fished in a manner that does not threaten the health of fish stocks or cause harm to the marine environment.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing remains one of the most significant barriers to global fisheries sustainability. Canada continues to be a leader in international efforts to combat this problem through our membership in RFMOs, including the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Tunas (ICCAT), among others.

Canada played a leadership role in efforts this year by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to develop legally-binding port state measures to deter IUU fishing. Our government also continues to promote sustainable fisheries through rigorous enforcement of conservation rules in the NAFO regulatory area and in the North Pacific. These efforts have significantly reduced illegal fishing outside our exclusive economic zone. Canada is also confident that we will meet the requirements of new European Union (EU) regulations that come into force on January 1, 2010, that all countries provide verification that their seafood exports to the EU are not the product of illegal fishing activities.

At home, Canada has responsible management measures in place to meet today's needs without compromising future generations. We make informed decisions based on scientific research and peer reviewed advice. We manage envrionmental impacts, impose conservation measures, enforce the rules, and monitor results to protect and conserve fish stocks, and the marine environment. We consult widely, and plan ahead together with the industry, provinces and territories and environmental organizations.

Our collective efforts have produced significant progress on many fronts, but we know there is still much more to be accomplished. Sustainability by its very nature requires a consistent and coordinated approach and I encourage everyone involved in the fishing industry in Canada and around the world to act decisively to protect and build a healthy and prosperous global fishery for the future.

I encourage you to visit our sustainable fish and seafood website at to learn more about our efforts. You can also follow DFO on Twitter at

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Alain Belle-Isle
    Media Relations
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Office of the Minister
    Nancy Bishay
    Press Secretary