Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

September 07, 2007 10:34 ET

Minister Hearn Visits Spain and Portugal to Advance Canadian Efforts to Stop Overfishing

MADRID, SPAIN--(Marketwire - Sept. 7, 2007) - The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, accompanied by Canada's Ambassador for Fisheries Conservation, Loyola Sullivan, today wrapped up meetings in their visit to Spain aimed at advancing Canada's ongoing efforts to stop overfishing. Both are mid-way through a visit to Spain and Portugal that includes meetings with the Ministers of Fisheries in both countries, as well as industry leaders, scientists and academia.

"Canada is pleased with the results we are seeing from countries such as Spain on high seas fisheries enforcement," Minister Hearn said. "Compliance has improved and serious infringements are currently at a record low - proof that work on the international scene by Canada's New Government is having a real impact."

Yesterday, the Minister signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Honourable Elena Espinosa, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in Spain.

The Canada-Spain MOU will advance technical, scientific, economic, and enforcement efforts related to fisheries issues, particularly in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. This includes promoting joint participation in research projects, encouraging commercial exchanges, and facilitating initiatives that will continue to improve the conservation and management of regulated fisheries.

This agreement follows a recent signing by Canada and Spain to enhance scientific collaboration to improve understanding about Greenland halibut, oceans ecosystems, invasive aquatic species, aquatic animal health, and aquaculture fish production. These initiatives are intended to establish a strong scientific foundation for proper decisions to be made at the international level, ensuring sustainable use of the resource.

Minister Hearn and Ambassador Sullivan met Carmen Gallego, Galician Counsellor for Fisheries, Seafood and Aquaculture, during their visit to this region of Spain.

Ministers discussed the importance of aquaculture as one of the most important food production activities in the world and determined that aquaculture development is a key priority for both nations. They agreed to work collaboratively with the aquaculture and wild fisheries industries to identify common interests and opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation.

"It's important that everyone work together to ensure the conservation of fish stocks," said Ambassador Sullivan. "We're pleased with the response we have been getting from countries like Spain and Portugal. The message is getting out that Canada will not tolerate the abuses of the stocks we have seen in the past. We're seeing real improvement on the water, and that's what counts."

Among activities planned for a September 9 - 12 visit to Portugal, Minister Hearn and Ambassador Sullivan will meet Jaime Silva, Portugal's Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries and tour INIAP- IPMAR, Portugal's Fisheries and Oceans Research Institute.

The following are available on the DFO website:

- Memorandum of Understanding on Fisheries Co-operation between the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Kingdom of Spain and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans of Canada

- Official Photos



The fishing industry is very important to both Canada and Spain. By establishing broader science networks, each country can learn from one another and improve its marine science capacity.

This is why Canada and Spain have launched a Marine Science Collaboration Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to establish joint collaborative marine science projects of mutual interest to both countries.

Renewing our commitment to science

In March 2007, Fisheries and Oceans Canada hosted a Spain-Canada workshop in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. The purpose of this workshop was to advance collaborative science supporting the sustainable management of both nations' fisheries and oceans.

More than forty Canadian and Spanish scientists, from universities and government departments, participated in the workshop. And, by the close of the session, four broad research areas were proposed for collaborative work: fisheries science, aquatic invasive species, aquatic animal health, and aquaculture and genomics.

A month later, on April 30, 2007, a Letter of Intent was signed between Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Spain's Ministry of Science and Education formalizing the previous month's discussions, and committing both countries to establishing joint, collaborative marine science projects.

This Canada - Spain agreement provides a framework for selecting scientific projects of mutual interest, defining support (both financial and human resources), and identifying funding instruments and other provisions that may be required.

In addition, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Ministry of Science and Education each have committed $100K to advance science projects this fiscal year. So far, this money has been used to fund initial research projects on fisheries science ($25K) and aquatic invasive species ($25K).

In August 2007, DFO scientists collaborated with their Spanish counterparts on a scientific survey on Greenland halibut and other species in Division 3L in Canadian waters as an extension of its current survey work in Division 3L in the NAFO Regulatory Area. This research will increase our knowledge of straddling stocks and provide a greater joint understanding of the Grand Banks ecosystem.

Regular teleconference calls between Spain and Canada keep the Marine Science Collaboration Initiative advancing and information on fisheries science and survey activities flowing. In addition, senior Canadian officials, and officials from Genome Canada, are planning to travel to Spain in October 2007 to discuss possible genomics research and other science projects with Spanish officials.

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Phil Jenkins
    Strategic Media Relations
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Office of the Minister
    Steve Outhouse
    Director of Communications
    Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
    Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office