The delegation of Canada made the following statement to the Committee and requested the Chair to incorporate it in the report of the Session.
"Canada would first like to thank the Chair of the Technical Consultation on IUU fishing, Mr. Andrew Jackson, as well as the Chair of the "Friends of the Chair group", Mr David Balton, for their great leadership and hard work in trying to achieve an IUU text acceptable to all. Canada also appreciates the hard work, dedication and spirit of compromise from many delegations during discussions concerning the IPOA on IUU fishing, including throughout this week.
Canada strongly supports the need for addressing the matter of IUU fishing. As most delegations know, Canada has been the victim of IUU fishing activities off of our coasts in the Atlantic and the Pacific. This has contributed to the severe depletion of valuable fish stocks. We have had to impose severe restrictions and measures on fishing activities, with the hope of restoring the stocks to a sustainable state.
The international community has also been very active in the past two decades in seeking solutions to address IUU fishing. In effect, important tools were developed in global international instruments to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing activities. These range from the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and its 1995 Implementation Agreement on the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, to instruments developed by the FAO, such as the 1993 FAO Compliance Agreement and the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
The IPOA on IUU fishing was developed for the purpose of addressing the same issues as those addressed by these global instruments. The objective we set out for ourselves was to develop a comprehensive, effective and transparent toolbox of measures that States could use to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing. Canada feels that we have not fully achieved this objective with the current draft text of the IPOA. An important 'state of the art' tool was left out of the text, which Canada believes should have been explicitly included.
Canada considers that the international community has accepted that boarding and inspection regimes should include requirements for fishing vessels to permit access by duly authorized inspectors from regional fisheries management organizations or states other than the flag state. Canada accepts that delegations consider that the IPOA includes such a measure. Canada considers, however, that such a measure should have been set out explicitly in order to meet the objectives set out in the IPOA and, more generally, promote good fisheries conservation and management practices.
For these reasons, Canada feels it must put a reservation on paragraphs 20.10 and 70.7bis of the draft IPOA on IUU fishing.
Canada also reserves its position with respect to the section of the draft IPOA text entitled "Internationally Agreed Market-Related Measures"(paragraphs 53(bis) to 66). Canada reaffirms the right of states, consistent with the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO, to adopt or enforce measures relating to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources. However, Canada does not, at this time, endorse, as an automatic policy, an undertaking to apply sanctions with respect to trade in fish and fish products in cases of IUU fishing with respect to all regional fisheries management organizations. Rather, states should decide on the use of trade measures on a case-by-case basis, having due regard to the specific circumstances.
The directive nature implied by the word "should" in paragraph 54 of the draft IPOA text, even after all other approaches to IUU fishing have been exhausted, could be interpreted as limiting our discretion to use trade-related measures. This is inconsistent with current Canadian policy. This is also contrary to the very nature of the IPOA on IUU, which is to provide a comprehensive list of tools to be used at the discretion of States.
Canada would like the substance of our reservations to be reflected in the Report of the COFI meeting, as well as in the draft text of the IPOA, which we understand will be published and printed by the FAO. We understand that this could be achieved through a declaration attached as an annex to the IPOA text and understand that this option has been used in the past.
On the agreement that Canada's specific reservations will be reflected within the text of the IPOA as an annex to the text, Canada will withdraw our general reservation on the IPOA text. This would clear the way for the adoption of the IPOA by consensus. Mr. Chairman, with your agreement, we could provide the Secretariat with copies of Canada's Statement as well as texts of our specific reservations."