Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

March 11, 2005 13:46 ET

DFO: Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and International Fisheries Governance Key Topics at International Meetings


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: FISHERIES AND OCEANS CANADA

MARCH 11, 2005 - 13:46 ET

DFO: Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing
and International Fisheries Governance Key Topics at
International Meetings

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 11, 2005) - Addressing illegal,
unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and improving international
fisheries governance are important themes at international meetings in
Europe this week.

From March 7 to 11, the United Nations Food and Agricultural
Organization (FAO) Committee on Fisheries (COFI) held its 26th annual
session in Rome, and the FAO Ministerial Meeting on Fisheries will take
place in Rome on March 12. The first Ministerial Meeting of the High
Seas Task Force on IUU Fishing also occurred this week on March 9 in
Paris and on March 11 in Rome.

"Canada and many other coastal States have seen first-hand the
devastating effects that illegal fishing activities can have on fishing
communities," said Geoff Regan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
"It is important that these concerns be brought to the international
table so that governments around the world can move forward an agenda to
end the depletion of global fish stocks."

IUU fishing is one of the main factors behind the depletion of global
fish stocks. Estimated to be 30 per cent or more of the world's total
catch, IUU fishing also has an adverse affect on marine mammals,
seabirds, sea turtles, and biodiversity as a whole.

During the COFI meeting, Canadian officials tabled Canada's National
Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and
Unregulated Fishing (NPOA-IUU), which outlines ongoing programs and
initiatives, as well as existing policies and legislation, which tackle
the issue of IUU fishing. It also recommends solutions to Canada's
concerns about illegal fishing with respect to overcapacity, lack of
effective flag State control over their fishing vessels, and
non-compliance to high seas conservation and enforcement measures with
few or no consequences.

"Over the past two decades, the Government of Canada has implemented a
number of policies and programs to address the threats posed by IUU
fishing," said Minister Regan. "This national action plan clearly
demonstrates the extent of our commitment to ensure the sustainability
of the world's fisheries."

At the High Seas Task Force (HSTF) sessions, members agreed to pursue
six priority action areas over the coming year: sharing intelligence and
better coordination of monitoring, control, and surveillance; developing
a global register of high seas fishing vessels; preparing guidelines on
the performance of flag States regarding their high seas fishing
vessels; strengthening in-port measures and control over nationals;
analysing trade-related measures; and addressing regional fisheries
management organization (RFMO)-based initiatives and governance issues.

"While a number of international initiatives and agreements are in place
to combat IUU fishing, their effectiveness has been held back by the
lack of political support," said Minister Regan. "The High Seas Task
Force was formed to find creative solutions to this problem. As the
North American member, I look forward to my continued participation in
the work of the Task Force as we advance these priority areas to attain
our goal."

The HSTF and FAO meetings on fisheries are the first in a series of
events being used by Canada to advocate stronger measures on overfishing
and high seas governance. The Governance of High Seas Fisheries and the
United Nations Fish Agreement conference taking place from May 1-5, 2005
in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador will be the next key meeting.
It is envisioned that this intergovernmental conference will launch a
process that will lead to strengthened governance and updated high seas
fishing management in regional fisheries management organizations.

The Government of Canada made considerable investments in 2004 to
support a comprehensive strategy against overfishing, which includes a
commitment to work closely with international partners to build and
strengthen alliances and to identify ways to improve international
fisheries governance. Annual funding of $15 million to continue enhanced
monitoring and surveillance in the northwest Atlantic Ocean to
discourage international overfishing was also recently announced in the
February 2005 federal budget.




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High Seas Task Force - Six Priority Action Areas

The ministerial-level task force on illegal, unreported, and unregulated
(IUU) fishing, known as the High Seas Task Force (HSTF), was launched on
December 1, 2003. Members of the group are working to prepare
analytically sound, politically realistic, and financially viable
recommendations on how to prevent and eliminate IUU fishing. The aim of
the Task Force is to spur political momentum to reach consensus on
measures that can be implemented locally, regionally and internationally.

At the first ministerial HSTF meeting on March 9 and 11, 2005, Task
Force members discussed how to advance six priority areas identified
through the work of expert working groups that were created last year to
support the HSTF:

1) Sharing intelligence and better coordination of monitoring, control,
and surveillance (MCS): to strengthen the existing voluntary MCS Network
to ultimately create a high seas MCS Network with dedicated resources,
analytical capacity, and the ability to provide MCS training and
technical assistance to all MCS practitioners, especially those in
developing countries.

2) Developing a global register of high seas fishing vessels: to deal
with the lack of access to transparent and unbiased information about
the ownership and control of fishing vessels that makes control of IUU
fishing more difficult for national enforcement authorities and regional
fisheries management organizations (RFMOs).

3) Preparing guidelines on the performance of flag States regarding
their high seas fishing vessels: to serve as criteria against which to
evaluate this performance.

4) Strengthening in-port measures and control over nationals: through
the promotion of universal acceptance of the notion of the responsible
port State and the adoption of the FAO Port State Model Scheme, in
addition to taking more stringent measures against nationals.

5) Analyzing trade-related measures: to understand the
marketplace-related measures currently being used by RFMOs, States, the
fishing industry, and non-governmental organizations to reinforce
international fisheries conservation and management measures.

6) RFMO-based initiatives and governance issues: by adopting a
coordinated strategy to improve global and regional high seas governance
within existing legal frameworks and studying potential, long-term
solutions to the underlying problems of managing high seas resources.

Advancing these six priority areas will build upon, and support, ongoing
initiatives in other international bodies, such as the Organisation of
Economic Co-operation and Development Fisheries Committee, and the
United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization Fisheries Committee.
It will also serve to inform the intergovernmental conference on the
Governance of High Seas Fisheries and the United Nations Fish Agreement
taking place from May 1 to 5, 2005 in St. John's, Newfoundland and
Labrador.

The Honourable Elliot Morley, Britain's Minister of the Environment and
Agri-Environment, is the Chair of the High Seas Task Force. Participants
include the Fisheries Ministers of Australia, Chile, Namibia, New
Zealand, Canada, and members of environmental non-governmental
organizations. Canada's role in the group is as champion of the adoption
of measures advocated by the Task Force in Canada, and the North America
and Caribbean region.

For more information about the High Seas Task Force, visit
www.high-seas.org.





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Canada's National Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate
Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (NPOA-IUU)

Canada's National Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate
Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (NPOA-IUU) outlines Canada's
specific plans to address the problem of illegal fishing on a national,
regional, and international basis.

At the national level, the NPOA highlights actions and initiatives taken
within domestic waters or in international waters close to Canada's
200-nautical-mile limit to deter and eliminate IUU fishing.
Specifically, it explains the Canadian legislative and regulatory
framework to manage and protect fisheries resources and outlines
potential action to be taken to prevent harmful fishing activities. It
also elaborates Canada's international commitments to protect and
conserve fisheries resources around the world.

In addition to describing existing programs and policies in Canada, the
NPOA identifies areas for action at the national level to ensure that
gaps in legislation and policies will be remedied over the short term.
These activities include the review and improvement of monitoring,
control, and surveillance operations in Canadian waters; the
implementation of international commitments and instruments; and a
review of Canada's fishing capacity.

At the regional and international level, the NPOA proposes remedial
steps to overcome the gaps that exist in the governance tools and
regimes that were designed to protect high seas fish stocks. For
example, Canada will continue to press for the international adoption of
measures to strengthen the institutional regimes of regional fisheries
management organizations (RFMOs); the adoption of additional compliance
mechanisms in RFMOs; and improvements to the collection and exchange of
information through and between RFMOs.

A unique feature of Canada's NPOA is the emphasis placed on reviewing
and revising the plan over time as new initiatives to prevent, deter,
and eliminate IUU fishing are developed and implemented at the national
and international levels. To that end, Canada is committed to use the
'Checklist of Recommended Actions' identified in the International Plan
of Action to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate IUU Fishing (IPOA-IUU)
Implementation Guide and to update the document at regular intervals or
when significant new initiatives come to fruition.

Canada's NPOA-IUU was developed in accordance with the principles and
provisions of the IPOA-IUU. Although voluntary, many of the basic
provisions of the IPOA-IUU exist in binding instruments, such as the
1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the 1995 United
Nations Fish Agreement, and the FAO Compliance Agreement.

The full text of the NPOA-IUU, including a comparison of Canadian policy
and practice to the provisions of the IPOA-IUU, can be found at
www.overfishing.gc.ca.

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Contact Information

  • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Christiane Parcigneau
    Media Relations
    (613) 998-1530
    or
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Brian Underhill
    Director of Communications, Office of the Minister
    (613) 992-3474
    Internet : www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca