Language selection


The international science role of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Learn about international science, our key areas of concern, our efforts and co-operative research.

On this page

About international science

Science is essential to sound decision making in fisheries management and oceans governance. Scientific inquiry is often borderless, such as:

  • studying the effects of sound on aquatic species
  • assessing the status and trends of marine populations

Science provides advice on catch limits and other management measures to ensure fisheries are sustainable for:

  • highly migratory stocks, such as:
    • cod
    • salmon
    • bluefin tuna
  • fish stocks that straddle international boundaries

In addition, science informs our work under policy and management sectors as we aim to meet Canada's commitments under:

  • the Food and Agriculture Organization
  • the International Maritime Organization
  • the United Nations Fish Stock Agreement
  • the 1982 United National Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
  • other significant global conventions, such as the:
    • Convention on Biological Diversity
    • Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

Science advisory reports and summaries of research projects related to international governance issues are summarized online. Fisheries data is increasingly available from Canada's Open Data Portal.

Key areas of concern

At the international level, key areas of concern include:

  • ocean and climate changes
  • safe approaches to sustainable:
    • fisheries practices
    • harvesting strategies
  • identification and protection of sensitive marine:
    • habitat
    • species
    • ecosystems
    • communities
  • sustainable management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks in:
    • the Atlantic and Pacific oceans
    • the surrounding ocean ecosystems

Canadian efforts

Science informs Canada's participation in regional management fisheries organizations, including the:

  • Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
  • International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas
  • North Pacific Anadromous Commission

We share internationally the ocean data we collect for Canadian ocean monitoring. This goes into products and services for:

  • weather
  • safe navigation
  • emergency management

We support providing insight into the ocean's role in climate by supporting the Argo floating buoy program.

Our scientists also:

  • undertake research to understand and adapt to climate change
  • have influenced, and continue to contribute to, the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

We play a key role in international science organizations, notably the:

  • North Pacific Marine Science Organization
  • International Council for the Exploration of the Sea

Canada is also a member of the International Hydrographic Organization. The advancement of hydrographic science to international standards is essential for Canadian transportation safety.

In addition, joint science efforts with the U.S. and Denmark has been undertaken in support of Canadian sovereignty under UNCLOS.


Our key areas of international science co-operation include:

  • aquaculture
  • oceans health and stressors
  • promoting researcher mobility
  • ocean observation and prediction
  • characterization of the seafloor and the sub-surface
  • data management and information sharing, including oceans literacy
  • working with and coordinating around infrastructures, such as measurement buoys and research vessels

In 2015, to better align research and ocean observation efforts, we signed the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation with the U.S. and the European Commission. This helps us:

  • inform the sustainable management of this shared resource
  • better understand the Atlantic Ocean and the bordering Arctic region
Date modified: