International Treaties and Agreements

International legal instruments and related agreements provide an important framework for the establishment of a lasting and effective management of fisheries and oceans. The United Nations plays an important role in international fisheries and oceans governance.

Agreements being Negotiated

Canada is working with nine other nations towards the development of an international Agreement on the Prevention of Unregulated Fishing in the High Seas of the Central Arctic Ocean. The Third Meeting on High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean was held in Iqaluit from July 6-8, 2016. Canada welcomed nine international delegations, including the United States, Russia, Norway, Kingdom of Denmark (in respect of Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Iceland, China, Japan, South Korea, and the European Union (EU). The process to date has been chaired by the United States (US) represented by David Balton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries at the U.S. Department of State. At the conclusion of the Iqaluit meeting the Chair issued a Statement which gave an overview of what was discussed, some outstanding issues and the next steps in this process. Canada looks forward to continuing the discussions among the delegations at the next meeting, which will likely be in the late fall of 2016.

International Treaties

Global cooperation through the United Nations has resulted in the development of a number of treaties that are the foundation of international fisheries governance and the related activities carried out in fishing regions worldwide by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs).

  • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) a comprehensive legal text that establishes jurisdiction and governance parameters of key issues related to the world's oceans.
  • United Nations Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks(commonly called the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, or UNSFA) provides the framework for the conservation and management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks in high seas areas regulated by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs).

International Agreements

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has developed the following agreements to reinforce international legal instruments by providing guidance that can be incorporated into national and regional fisheries management activities.

  • Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries
  • International Plan of Action for the Management of Fishing Capacity
  • International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
  • International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks
  • International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries