Fisheries and Aquaculture
November 9, 2006

Government Stands Firm on Foreign Overfishing

The Provincial Government will continue to adamantly support measures aimed at deterring foreign overfishing on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks.

That is one of the messages the Honourable Tom Rideout, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, delivered today when he appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans in St. John's. The minister also called for reform of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) and addressed the issue of a ban on bottom trawling.

"Unfortunately, the Canadian 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone does not encompass the entire Grand Banks," said the minister. "The Nose and Tail of the banks are in international waters and several key stocks that are vitally important to our province straddle the 200-mile line. These stocks have been subject to massive overfishing by other nations and our government will continue to stand firm against such activity."

The minister also recommended that issues with NAFO be addressed. He noted that some progress has been made at the 2006 NAFO meeting. However, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will be closely monitoring NAFO in its new governance roles. "Government will not relinquish it stance until deficiencies in NAFO have been resolved," said the minister.

The minister reiterated government�s support of Canadian custodial management to protect weakened fish stocks.

"By applying custodial management out to the edge of the continental shelf, Canada would manage the stocks that currently straddle the 200-mile limit," he said. "This would ensure the consistent application of resource conservation measures, while respecting the established shares of other nations. It will also ensure the application of the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement."

The minister also addressed the issue of a ban on bottom trawling.

"We support the position that a ban on bottom trawling outside of 200 miles would result in tremendous pressure on our country to implement the same ban within 200 miles. From out province�s point of view, a ban on bottom trawling in Canadian waters would come at the detriment of many very important fisheries in this province," he said.

"Our government does support sound environmental practices and there are indeed legitimate issues associated with bottom trawling. However, rather than completely ban bottom trawling, our government is in favour of finding ways to address their concerns. Indeed, alternative measures of protecting the ocean habitat should be explored rather than wide sweeping measures that would devastate fishing communities."

Other topics addressed by the minister included EU tariffs on Canadian seafood products, the Canadian sealing harvest and the ongoing fisheries renewal exercise.

Speaking Notes - Honourable Tom Rideout - Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans


Media contact:
Lori Lee Oates
Director of Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
(709) 729-3733, 690-8403 

2006 11 09                                                   9:35 a.m.

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