Canadian government commits funding to Global Fishing Watch

Toronto, Canada – Today, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Sean Casey, reaffirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing at the Collision Conference in Toronto. Our Government is contributing $1.2 million to Global Fishing Watch (GFW) to support the continued growth of its free, open-source mapping platform to track and analyse fishing activity around the world.

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing costs the world economy billions of dollars every year. It devastates marine environments and threatens fragile fish stocks worldwide, and it undermines the livelihoods of legitimate fish harvesters, both in Canada and abroad. It is a global problem that requires a global solution. Our Government understands the critical need to protect the livelihood of fishers, prevent the degradation of global fish stocks, and mitigate damage to ocean and coastal environments. That is why we are taking action through this partnership.

Last September, at the G7 Environment, Energy, and Oceans ministerial meeting, the Government of Canada formally declared its support for GFW and the work it does to advance the sustainability of our oceans through increased transparency. Today, we are building on our commitment to GFW by ensuring their work continues to expand.

This funding is part of the $10 million commitment announced by Canada at the G7 ministerial meeting to support the development and deployment of satellite-based technologies that can remotely identify and track suspected IUU vessels. The forensic identification of vessels is instrumental to stopping illegal fishing activities and holding owners to account.

This funding contribution to GFW underscores our government’s ongoing commitment to supporting the research and innovation of non-profit organisations, to environmental protection and to sustaining fish stocks.

“The Government of Canada is proudly supporting the continued success of Global Fishing Watch. This is an organization that has demonstrated the power of innovative technology and data as a key tool in eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Canada’s $1.2 million investment supports Global Fishing Watch in accessing the latest technologies, and to continue its work with international partners in tackling illegal fishing and its devastating impacts.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“Staying on the cutting edge of technology to track and gather information on fishing vessels in near real-time is an incredible weapon in the fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. We are proud to invest in Global Fishing Watch’s commitment to advancing ocean protection and sustainability through tech. With their leadership in this area, announcing this funding at the Collision Conference, where the world’s cutting edge communications and mapping technologies are on display couldn’t be any more fitting.”

Sean Casey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“This is a very important collaboration for Global Fishing Watch and comes at a point where open data is increasingly available for improved transparency in fishing operations and better science. With this support we will continue global observation and tracking efforts through provision of our free and publicly available platform.  It will also allow us to give bespoke support to countries that would otherwise not have the resource to analyse the data, promoting better stewardship of ocean resources and, ultimately, helping combat IUU fishing.”

Tony Long, Chief Executive Officer, Global Fishing Watch

“On behalf of Oceana and Global Fishing Watch, we appreciate the commitment by the Government of Canada to combat overfishing. Government action, supported by powerful new tools like Global Fishing Watch, is key to ending illegal practices that threaten the health of our oceans.”

Andy Sharpless, CEO of Oceana, co-founder and Board Treasurer of Global Fishing Watch

Quick Facts

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that IUU fishing accounts for about 30 per cent of all fishing activity worldwide, representing up to 26 million tonnes of fish caught annually, valued at between $10 billion and $23 billion USD.
  • IUU fishing is often linked to human trafficking, forced labour, and other serious criminal activity in the fishing sector.
  • The International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing is June 5.
  • The Government of Canada has also announced a $1.6 million commitment to work with international partners to develop a regional fisheries intelligence-sharing and networking platform for countries in the Western Central Pacific.

Global Fishing Watch (GFW) is an international non-profit organisation committed to advancing the sustainability of our oceans through increased transparency. By harnessing cutting edge technology, our mapping platform allows anyone to view or download data and investigate global fishing activity in near real-time, for free. GFW was founded in 2015 through a collaboration between Oceana, SkyTruth and Google. Our work is made possible thanks to the support of our funding partners and technology and data providers.

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 200 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world.

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