Canada Has Ratified United Nations Fish Agreement

OTTAWA — Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced today that Canada has ratified the United Nations Fish Agreement (UNFA).

“Canada played a key role in bringing about the adoption of this Agreement,” said Mr. Axworthy. “It represents a major step toward international cooperation in conserving and managing fisheries resources on the high seas. I encourage other states to ratify the Agreement so that it can enter into force in the near future.”

“This is an important step for Canada and like-minded countries working to halt the depletion of global fish stocks,” said Mr. Dhaliwal. “I would like to commend my predecessor,

David Anderson, for his resolve and hard work in highlighting this issue on the international stage and in achieving Canadian ratification of UNFA. This agreement will go a long way towards ensuring the sustainability of our ocean resources for future generations.”

UNFA will come into force 30 days after the 30th state has ratified the Agreement. In addition to Canada, 22 states have ratified UNFA, including Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) contracting parties such as the United States, Russia, Iceland and Norway.

The central thrust of the agreement is international cooperation for the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks. UNFA establishes guiding principles for the sustainable management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks, such as the precautionary approach and the minimization of pollution, waste, discards and

by-catch. It creates strong obligations for flag states and contains monitoring and enforcement provisions to ensure compliance with fishing measures established by regional fisheries organizations. In addition, a compulsory binding dispute settlement mechanism, contained in the Agreement, provides for the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

 UNFA will lead to more effective conservation of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks on which many Canadians in coastal communities depend for their livelihoods. In CanadaÂ’s case, these stocks include cod, flounder, redfish and turbot, as well as swordfish and tuna. The Agreement is an important development that will benefit millions of people in fishing communities around the world, including Canada.

Related Backgrounder: United Nations Fish Agreement (UNFA)

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Earl Wiseman
International Directorate
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

(613) 993-1873

Media Relations Office
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

(613) 995-1874