Joint statement

April 24, 2012
by the Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Ministers Ashfield and Aglukkaq issued the following statement today on Arctic fisheries:

“Our government understands the importance of fisheries for Northerners. Fish provide our people with sustenance, livelihoods and is a part of our traditional way of life.

“We also understand that any possible future commercial fishery in the international Arctic Ocean must be governed by effective management and conservation measures that are based on sound scientific advice, in consultation with Northerners and are agreed upon internationally.

“To that end, Canada continues to engage in discussions with the other four Arctic Ocean coastal states, including the United States, to address all relevant issues. We all agree that we need to know more, from a science and traditional perspective, about any potential for fish stocks to migrate to and reside in the Arctic. This will be critical to our decision-making, so we continue to work together to establish our research needs.

“Canada favours an approach that will ensure ecologically and economically sustainable fisheries in the long term.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the other Arctic Coastal States on this very important emerging issue.”

For more information on Canada’s policies on emerging and benthic fisheries, please see the Emerging Fisheries Policy and the Policy for Managing the Impacts of Fishing on Sensitive  Benthic Areas that currently guide decision-making in Canada to ensure new fisheries are developed in a sustainable and responsible manner.