EU and Canada Sign Declaration on Fighting Illegal Fishing

29 April 2016, at 1:00am

EU and CANADA - The EU and Canada have signed a Joint Declaration on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, sending a strong message of zero tolerance towards such criminal activities.

The declaration was signed by Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, and the Canadian Minister of Fisheries Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Hunter Tootoo.

IUU fishing is a major global problem, worth an estimated €10 billion a year. It depletes ocean resources and destroys the livelihoods of law-abiding fishermen who play by the rules. In many parts of the world, it is also often linked to other criminal activities like human trafficking or smuggling.

Canada is, like the EU, one of the world's most important markets for fisheries. The agreement cements and formalises the already fruitful cooperation between the EU and Canada at various levels: bilaterally, in regional fisheries management organisations, and in international fora.

In particular, it will allow Canada and the EU to strengthen monitoring and compliance measures, and to exchange information on suspected and proven cases of non-compliance.

"The EU is a global leader in tackling illegal fishing. With our IUU Regulation, we have adopted one of the most advanced policies in the world. And I am proud to say that our efforts are paying off. I hope that strong signals like today's statement with our Canadian partners convince even more countries to come on board and join us in our endeavour to eradicate illegal fishing once and for all," Commissioner Vella said.

“The world has to step up and join together to protect our oceans and our fisheries,” said Minister Tootoo. “We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, nor can we try to address it on our own. It is a global problem and it needs global solutions. We look forward to working with the European Union and our other world partners to solve this problem.”