Canadian fishery officers are leading their first mission in the Indo-Pacific, a region Canada has committed to protect through the Indo-Pacific Strategy. IUU fishing poses a significant risk to salmon populations in the North Pacific Ocean and is considered to be a potential driver of Pacific salmon declines.
Officers will conduct patrols, including high seas boardings and inspection operations, to ensure compliance with regulations and to detect illegal and unreported catch. Officers will also collect scientific data to inform our understanding of the high seas environment, including the migration range of species of interest, such as Pacific salmon.
‘Pacific salmon is vital to the food security, cultures, and economies of numerous First Nations, as well as the livelihoods of thousands of workers in rural and coastal communities in British Columbia and Yukon. As fish are not bound by borders, we must take decisive action to safeguard these species,’ said Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Joyce Murray.
‘This high seas enforcement operation will assist in the rebuilding efforts we are undertaking domestically. I wish the fishery officers, Coast Guard personnel, and crew a safe and successful journey and thank them for their efforts in curbing illegal fishing activities.’
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has contracted Atlantic Towing to provide a vessel for this operation, which will be underway until this fall. This joint patrol will contribute to a multi-national effort known as Operation North Pacific Guard, involving officers from DFO’s Conservation and Protection program, along with personnel from the Canadian Coast Guard and the United States Coast Guard.
Funding from the Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative (PSSI) is supporting this mission to enhance conservation, protection and enforcement efforts in high-risk areas for Canada’s Pacific salmon stocks. As part of the PSSI, DFO is committing more than $46 million over the next five years to combat IUU fishing in the North Pacific, including this deployment of a high-seas patrol vessel in the region.