Canada plays a leadership role in protecting key fish stocks and ecosystems in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean
Canada expressed its strong support for science advice and strict management measures that protect straddling fish stocks in the Northwest Atlantic at the 38th annual meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) in Varadero, Cuba last week.
At the meeting, NAFO members discussed progress on protecting vulnerable marine ecosystems (VME) and accepted Canada’s proposal, co-sponsored by Iceland, Norway and the United States, to establish an additional closure to protect an area of sea pens on Flemish Cap. With the addition of this closure (239 square km), NAFO has now protected a total of 380,511 square km in its regulatory area. Canada plays a leadership role in the measures to protect VME species such as cold-water corals, sponges and sea pens from the impact of fishing activities.
Canada supported a NAFO resolution to adopt a fins-attached requirement for shark landings, which aligns with existing Canadian policy. Under these new measures, sharks caught in the NAFO Regulatory Area as bycatch are required to be landed with fins naturally attached.
NAFO is commitment to deter illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and has now aligned its Port State control measures with the international standards outlined in the Food and Agriculture Organization Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA). This Agreement recently came into force and sets the global standards for actions that countries must take in their ports when a foreign fishing vessel has engaged in or supported illegal fishing or related activities. Canada is also taking steps to update its domestic regulations to support the ratification of the PSMA.
“Canada is committed to working with other NAFO members to promote economic growth and ensure prosperous and sustainable fisheries that benefit Canadians living in Atlantic coastal communities. We recognize the importance of NAFO managed stocks and will continue to play a leadership role in the successful adoption of measures to protect vulnerable marine areas. Canada believes that the broad implementation of the UN Agreement on Port State Measures is an effective means to prevent IUU fish from entering international markets. We will continue to work with our partner nations to ensure NAFO is a strong, modern and effective regional fisheries management organization.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
- The Canadian quota for 2+3KLMNO Greenland halibut in waters off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador was set at 5,478 tonnes for 2017, which is a rollover from 2016.
- The Canadian quota for 3LN redfish in waters off the east coast of the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador was increased by 1,619 tonnes to 6,049 tonnes for both 2017 and 2018.
- The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) is an international regional fisheries management organization (RFMO) founded in 1979. NAFO's overall purpose is to help its members work together and share knowledge to effectively manage and conserve the straddling fishery resources of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.