Canada Reaffirms Commitment to Conserve and Protect Wild Atlantic Salmon At NASCO
Canada and other NASCO members develop a new regulatory measure for greenland’s atlantic salmon fishery at North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization’s annual meeting, but more work is needed
June 6, 2015
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador — The thirty-second annual meeting of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) wrapped up June 5 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. From June 2-5, delegates from all NASCO member countries participated in science and regulatory discussions regarding the conservation, restoration, enhancement and rational management of salmon stocks in the North Atlantic Ocean.
NASCO member countries and their delegations were welcomed into the Happy Valley-Goose Bay community where they had a chance to witness first-hand the important partnership role that the community and Aboriginal organizations play in the management of Atlantic salmon. At the meeting, Canada highlighted the importance of subsistence fisheries and the need to work collaboratively to conserve salmon in the North Atlantic. Federal initiatives that contribute to salmon conservation such as the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program (RFCPP), created to help restore Canada’s recreational fish habitat and the recently created Ministerial Advisory Committee on Atlantic Salmon, were also discussed.
A key topic of discussion at the meeting was the increasing removals of wild Atlantic salmon off West Greenland, which Canada feels must be reduced to a level that supports salmon conservation. Canada worked with NASCO counterparts to develop a new regulatory measure for the Greenland Atlantic salmon fishery. Greenland has committed to the implementation of strict fishery management and control measures but has unilaterally established an unsustainable quota of 45 tonnes for the next three years.
While Canada is disappointed with this quota, we are pleased that Greenland has committed to applying strong monitoring, control and surveillance measures. Additionally, Canada will work through NASCO to ensure the effective implementation of these new measures and advocate for harvest levels more in line with the science advice.
Canada will continue to work with NASCO members on science programs such as the Labrador and West Greenland fishery sampling programs.
- Parties to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization include Canada, Denmark (for the Faroe Islands and Greenland), the European Union, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States. Thirty-three non-government organizations participate with observer status.
- In eastern Canada, the abundance of Atlantic salmon at sea, prior to marine exploitation, used to be as high as 1.7 million fish in the mid-1970s. Now that number has fallen to about 600,000 — a 60 percent decline.
- To tackle the issue of low salmon returns on the East coast, the Government of Canada established a Ministerial Advisory Committee on Atlantic Salmon, which is mandated to focus on conservation and enforcement measures; predation; strategies to address international, unsustainable fishing; and specific areas for advancing science.
- The Committee provided interim recommendations to the Minister to address Greenland overfishing which formed the basis of Canada’s position discussed at NASCO.
- Since the RFCPP’s creation, a total of 73 projects and $4.1 million in funding benefitted Atlantic salmon conservation and habitat throughout Atlantic Canada.
“I would like to thank the residents and local organizations in Happy Valley-Goose Bay for their hospitality and dedication to making this international meeting such a success. Atlantic salmon is an important part of our country’s economy, history and culture and our Government is strongly committed to conserving and protecting this valuable resource. We are well-aware that Greenland is facing socio-economic challenges, but we will continue to work with sustainability-focused partners to ensure that our Atlantic salmon thrive again.”
The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
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