Sending a clear message that illegal activity and overfishing is not tolerated by Canada
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. 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 conduct monitoring and inspection duties as inspectors in the:
- Regulatory Area of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)
- Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Regulatory Area of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans
They also participate in enforcement activities in the Pacific Ocean as members of the:
- North Pacific Anadromous Fisheries Commission (NPAFC)
- Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)
- North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC)
- Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC)
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 Pacific, Canada continues to work with international partners and non-government organizations in using new and existing technologies to combat IUU fishing on the high seas. For example, Canada recently signed an agreement with Ecuador to provide expertise in helping to detect dark vessels fishing illegally near the Galapagos Islands and is working the Forum Fisheries Agency in the South Pacific to provide assistance to small island nations.
In recent years, efforts by regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) to maintain listings of fishing vessels that engage in illegal fishing activities has proved to be an important tool in addressing the problem. Canada contributes considerably to the development of conservation management measures within these RFMOs to improve efforts with regard to the protection of fisheries resources. 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 fish to reach markets.
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