Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

February 21, 2007 16:02 ET

DFO: NAFO Reforms Proving to Be Successful

Statement by Loyola Hearn Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 21, 2007) - The new Senate Committee report on the management of Atlantic fish stocks beyond the 200-mile-limit questions the effectiveness of the reforms Canada achieved at the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization last September.

The Committee should have checked up on the facts before finalizing their report, because there is clear evidence of success.

Since the NAFO reforms came into effect in December, there have been zero citations beyond Canada's 200-mile limit. Inspections have remained at the same enhanced level. In fact, in 2006 a record number of inspections of foreign vessels were made by Canadian inspectors in this area.

The truth is the new reforms hit vessel owners where it hurts-the wallet. Captains caught significantly misreporting their catch by at-sea inspectors must return to port for inspection. Regardless of the port location, leaving the fishing grounds and steaming back to port costs thousands of dollars. The vessel owner has to pay for fuel to get in and out of port for this inspection, and for crew members that aren't bringing in any fish. This is a significant penalty in itself-fishing vessels only make money if they're fishing.

In addition, with the reformed NAFO rules all members of this organization now agree to the kinds of punishments that must be imposed on vessels, when misreporting is confirmed through port inspections. Captains and vessel owners can be fined, have their gear and catch seized, or get their licences or quotas suspended.

I'm aware that the critics of NAFO will never be satisfied. But the system that's now in place punishes those who break the law. The proof is in the results.

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Office of the Minister
    Steve Outhouse
    Director of Communications