Canada ratifies Port State Measures Agreement in fight against IUU fishing

Published on
August 6, 2019

Canada has ratified the “Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter, And Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing,” an international agreement intended to combat IUU fishing.

The agreement grants officials more authority in denying entry to ports, in addition to the use of port services, if its found a vessel is carrying illegally harvested fish. It also increases the monitoring in Canadian ports and throughout the stages of fishing – from vessel registration to trade of the harvest.

"Canada is serious about ending illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. We are working with international partners to achieve this goal. We have invested in innovative technology to track and share regional and global fishing activity data,” Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s minister of fisheries, oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, said in a release. 

The roots of the agreement started in 2009, when members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations adopted the Port State Measure Agreement. Since then, Canada has been bringing its own regulations in line with those created in the agreement, and as of late July has been officially able to ratify the port-state measures. 

"Canada is now in position to join several countries that limit port access to foreign vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing that is emptying our oceans of fish and seafood,” Sean Casey, parliamentary secretary to the minister of fisheries, oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, said. “With the ratification of this legally-binding agreement, Canada has stronger rules and standards to deny vessel access to ports and thus prevent fish products from IUU fishing getting to Canadian markets." 

Canada has been active in the prevention of IUU fishing. The country recently participated in the Canadian Space Agency’s “RADARSAT Constellation Mission,” which launched three new satellites to provide surveillance of vessels suspected of IUU. The country has also given CAD 1.2 million (USD 907,202, EUR 811,399) to Global Fishing Watch. 

“By preventing fish and seafood products derived from IUU fishing from entering our ports, we will not only help level the playing field for Canadian harvesters and Canadian businesses involved in the fish and seafood trade: we are also sending a very strong message that Canada's ports have zero tolerance for illegally-caught fish,” Wilkinson said.

Photo by Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock

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