Canada warns Faroes and Greenland on overfishing 3L shrimp

03 Feb 2010

Gail Shea

Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, has taken action against overfishing of Division 3L shrimp by Faroese and Greenlandic fishing vessels in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Regulatory Area (NRA).

Minister Shea has warned Fisheries Ministers in the Faroe Islands and Greenland that Canada will begin denying port access licences to fishing vessels flagged to the Faroe Islands and Greenland as of 15 February 2010 unless the objection to their NAFO quota of 3L shrimp is withdrawn and they comply with the NAFO quota of 334t.

“Canada has been working in good faith to resolve issues in NAFO regarding the allocation of 3L shrimp for the Faroese and Greenlandic fleets, but their continued overfishing is unacceptable and the time for action is now,” said Minister Shea. “Several NAFO parties share Canada’s concerns and agree that any quota adjustments must not be excessive and should be consistent with scientific advice.”

The position held by Denmark in respect of Faroe Islands and Greenland (DFG) is far from that held by the rest of the NAFO Contracting Parties, including Canada. DFG has unilaterally set a quota of 3,101 tonnes, almost 10 times greater than their NAFO quota. This sets a dangerous precedent that could impact conservation of the species.

Canada originally closed its ports to fishing vessels from the Faroe Islands and Greenland in December 2004, but reopened them in March 2008. This was done as a sign of good faith ahead of talks between NAFO countries aimed at breaking the impasse on 3L shrimp quotas.

The Government of Canada remains committed to a multilateral resolution to this issue and will continue to look for ways to advance the discussions as Division 3L shrimp remains an important straddling stock for Canada and other NAFO members.

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