Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

June 01, 2005 07:00 ET

DFO: North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers Eager to Make Tangible Progress Regarding High Seas Fisheries Governance Reform

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - June 1, 2005) - During the 10th North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers' Conference (NAFMC), fisheries ministers and their representatives unanimously agreed to push forward an agenda for international fisheries governance reform.

"There's a genuine drive to capitalize on the political will demonstrated around the world to change the way we manage high seas fish stocks," said Geoff Regan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. "My colleagues want to move in the same direction - to achieve tangible results in reforming regional fisheries governance regimes and to see illegal fishing become a thing of the past."

The meeting of North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers was held in Torshavn, Faroe Islands on May 30 and 31, 2005. An informal gathering initiated a decade ago by Canada, the NAFMC is an opportunity for ministers from Canada, the European Union, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation to address conservation and management issues common to North Atlantic fisheries. The theme of this year's meeting was new approaches to ocean governance.

High seas fisheries governance features prominently on the agendas of many international groups, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's Committee on Fisheries and the High Seas Task Force on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. It was also the key theme of the recent international conference on the Governance of High Seas Fisheries and the United Nations Fish Agreement held in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

During the gathering in Torshavn, North Atlantic partners discussed ways to build on the actions outlined in the Ministerial Declaration of the St. John's Conference, especially regarding the reform of regional fisheries management organizations. In particular, they shared ideas for improving decision-making and strengthening monitoring, control and surveillance in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) and the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC). They discussed ways to better reflect conservation and sustainability in the management approaches of these organizations.

Ministers also expressed concern about global IUU fishing. They agreed that actions need to be taken particularly in their own back yard on the high seas of the North Atlantic.

Participants at this year's meeting agreed that the 11th annual NAFMC will be used to report back on the progress achieved over the coming year in strengthening regional fisheries management organizations and combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the North Atlantic. This meeting will be hosted by Norway in 2006.

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Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Phil Jenkins
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    or
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    Office of the Minister
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    (613) 992-3474