Canada Completes 2022 IUU Enforcement in North Pacific

Image: Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Canadian fisheries officials, collaborating with the United States, South Korea and Japan, have completed their 2022 efforts in Operation North Pacific Guard, an international law enforcement operation on the high seas of the North Pacific Ocean.

December marks the 30th anniversary of the United Nations ban of high seas driftnets, which are identified by Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada as a threat to Canadian migratory fish stocks such as Pacific salmon. and all living marine species.

The DFO said in a report issued in early November that Canada flew 29 patrols over 247 hours, covering a total of 44,200 nautical miles as part of Operation North Pacific Guard. They discovered incidents of sharks being caught and kept and garbage pollution, as well as a large number of ships with improper identification markings, the DFO report said.

During vessel inspections they found many incidents of harvesters failing to maintain proper catch records, an issue key to calculating sustainable harvest limits.

Operation North Pacific Guard is part of a larger Canadian effort to protect fish stocks, marine ecosystems and Canadian livelihoods, as well las to better understand potential adverse issues impacting migratory fish stocks, including Pacific salmon and tuna. 

“IUU fishing cheats people living in coastal communities out of hard-earned income,” Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Joyce Murray said. “In addition, it causes severe harm to aquatic ecosystems and fish stocks, like wild Pacific salmon.”

“We will continue working with our international and non-governmental partners to combat these harmful practices that affect global food security and fish sustainability,” she said.

Ian G, McKay ambassador of Canada to Japan, said the Canadian government is grateful to Japan for its assistance in facilitating the movement of equipment and personnel in support of Operation North Pacific Guard.

“Canada and Japan have much to gain by increasing our interoperability, as we work together to uphold the rule of law,” he said.