Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

November 22, 2010 10:56 ET

Canada Signs on to New International Measures to Fight Illegal Fishing

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 22, 2010) - The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today announced that Canada has signed the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA)

"Global Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing activities undermine the livelihoods of legitimate fish harvesters, both in Canada and abroad," said Minister Shea. "I am proud that Canada has played a longstanding leadership role in the global fight against illegal fishing and was a key player in the negotiation and adoption of this Agreement."

While Canada maintains well-regulated fisheries and has strong port access policies and practices in place, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is still prevalent in many parts of the world. The PSMA constitutes an international effort to strengthen fisheries governance around the world and to tackle the problem of IUU fishing by setting strong international minimum standards to prevent illegal fisheries products from entering markets through port access. The signing of the PSMA supports Canada's existing activities to improve global fisheries governance and combat IUU fishing, and complements a wide range of measures and authorities exercised by the federal government.

IUU fishing is a global problem that undercuts responsible fishing activities and has adverse consequences on food security, safety at sea, marine environmental protection and stability of prices in some key markets. A 2008 study estimated that the global economic loss due to IUU fishing ranges from US$10-23 billion annually, in addition to potential effects on marine ecosystems and fish stocks. Since approximately 85% of fish caught in Canadian waters are exported, an industry worth more than $3 billion annually, Canadian fish harvesters can be susceptible to depletion of stocks from overfishing, unfair competition with illegal fish products as well as price fluctuations in some markets created by the unpredictable supply of IUU fish products in foreign markets.

"IUU fishing is a global problem and we are committed to fighting it on a global scale," said Minister Shea. "Canada is the world's seventh largest exporter of fish and fish products, a sector that serves as an economic mainstay for approximately 1,500 rural and coastal communities across the country. We must continue to be at the forefront of this fight if we want to maintain a fair, stable and transparent market environment for our high quality fish and seafood exports."

Canada strongly believes the broad implementation of the PSMA is another effective tool to prevent IUU fish and fish products from entering international markets. Some of the most important measures in the Agreement include standardizing requirements for the information provided by vessels seeking entry to port, denying port entry and services to vessels implicated in IUU fishing (unless entry is for enforcement purposes), and setting minimum standards for vessel inspections and the training of inspectors.

The signature of the Agreement is the first step of the ratification process. The Agreement will enter into force when the instrument is ratified by 25 FAO members.

For more information about the treaty ratification process in Canada, visit

For more information about the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and port State measures, visit


Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Frank Stanek - Media Relations
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Nancy Bishay
    Director of Communications, Office of the Minister