Regular monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) of fishing vessels within and beyond Canada’s 200-mile limit is an important element of Canada’s fisheries management strategy and it is key to deterring illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Our presence on the water, in the air and in port sends a clear message that illegal activity and overfishing will not be tolerated by Canada.
Canadian fishery officers exercise monitoring and inspection functions in the Regulatory Area of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) in the capacity of NAFO inspectors under the NAFO Conservation and Enforcement Measures. They also participate in enforcement activities in the Convention Area of the North Pacific Anadromous Fisheries Commission (NPAFC).
There is clear evidence that increased MCS activities are having positive effects. For example, in the Northwest Atlantic, there are fewer vessels fishing illegally in the NAFO Regulatory Area. As a result, Canada is having to issue fewer citations for illegal fishing. In the North Pacific, aerial surveillance in collaboration with surface assets has decreased the use of illegal drift nets on the high seas.
In recent years, efforts by regional fisheries management organizations to maintain listings of fishing vessels that engage in illegal fishing activities has proved to be an important tool in addressing the problem. The introduction of port state measures, which involves the inspection of documents, gear and catch onboard a vessel that has arrived in port, is making it more difficult for illegal fishing activities to continue.