Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act

An Act to amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act to implement the Port State Measures Agreement, to prohibit the importation of fish caught and marine plants harvested in the course of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to clarify certain powers in respect of the administration and enforcement of the Act.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:10 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, before I start, I would like to note that I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development.

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing is a serious problem in many parts of the world. It is one of the main barriers to the achievement of sustainable fisheries worldwide. Illegal fishing affects some of the poorest countries, where dependence on fisheries for food and livelihoods is high.

By its nature, illegal fishing is not a problem for one country to solve on its own, because the problem respects no boundaries. These exploitive activities put pressure on the sustainability of all fish stocks and marine wildlife and distort the price of fish on world markets.

In recent years, the international community has been working to develop global tools to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal fishing activities. Improving the control of foreign fishing vessels through a global standard for action that can be taken in ports is one tool to stop illegal fishing. In short, if criminals cannot land their illegal catches, they will not be able to continue their operations.

I am proud to say that our government is part of this movement. As a nation with a well-regulated fishing industry, Canada has a strong interest in protecting fish stocks and in ensuring that fishing regulations are respected around the world.

In 2009, Canada and other countries approved the port state measures agreement that had been negotiated at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Canada signed this agreement in 2010 to signal the importance of taking strong action in ports to prevent illegal fishing, and today we are taking a step towards ratifying this important agreement. So far, 11 nations have ratified. The United States is in the process of passing ratification legislation, and it is expected that other countries will soon follow suit.

Before Canada can ratify this new global standard, we must address areas where our current legislation differs from the international agreement. These are the amendments we are discussing today through Bill S-3.

Through our current legislation, the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, Canada already has a rigorous port control system for foreign fishing vessels. The proposed changes contained in Bill S-3 will make this system even stronger.

The proposed amendments to the act can be grouped into three broad categories. The first category concerns authorities related to foreign fishing vessels. The port state measures agreement generally promotes a country's ability to refuse port entry to fishing vessels that are suspected to have engaged in or supported illegal fishing. However, there may be situations when the country responsible for the fishing vessel will want Canada's assistance to conduct an inspection and gather necessary evidence against the suspect ship.

The proposed changes will create an enforcement permit that will apply when a foreign fishing vessel has been directed by its flag state to enter a Canadian port for inspection. In this case, Canada would issue a specific entry permit for the sole purpose of inspection and enforcement. This is important, as the current system requires that the vessel itself request a permit to enter a Canadian port. Naturally, those who would commit illegal fishing activities are unlikely to seek permission to land in a country with as rigorous an inspection system as Canada's. This amendment will allow Canada, in partnership with the flag state, to direct a ship to port so that our officers can catch the criminals.

The proposed changes will also give our Canadian fishery protection officers greater authority to take enforcement action in such circumstances. When that foreign fishing vessel is directed to port under the new permit system, these powers will allow Canadian fishery protection officers to inspect and search the vessel and seize any illegal catch.

The second set of proposed changes relates to information sharing. To meet the requirements of the port state measures agreement, these changes provide clarity on the authority to share information with our enforcement partners. The proposed changes cover both the type of information and with whom it would be shared.

These proposed changes would clearly outline that the minister could share information regarding the inspection of a foreign vessel, the denial of entry to port, any enforcement action taken and the outcome of any of those proceedings. They would also outline the international partners with which such information could be shared. Applied globally, this effort would make illegal fishing operators easier to identify and facilitate the denial of entry at ports for those bandits throughout the world.

For our officers at home, the proposed changes would clarify the ability of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency to share information related to the importation of fish and seafood products.

The third major category of proposed changes concerns import prohibitions. Under the proposed changes, it would be an offence to import illegally caught fish into Canada.

The amendments would also give authorities new tools to enforce these prohibitions. For example, Bill S-3 would expand the powers of fishery protection officers to inspect any place, including containers, warehouses, storage areas and vehicles. These inspections could also be conducted in all ports of entry. This would be an important change since, currently, such powers are limited to fishing vessels and wharves. The amendments would also allow fishery protection officers to seize illegally caught fish in these places and seek their forfeiture in the event of a conviction.

Illegal fishing is a global threat to sustainable fisheries and to the management and conservation of our marine environment. Regional fisheries management organizations are increasingly requiring documentation for high-value species that are targets of illegal fishing. Canada can play its part in preventing economic gains going to illegal operators by preventing the import of fish and fish products that do not have the required documentation. If a court finds the person guilty of an importation offence under the act, significant fines would apply. In addition, with these amendments, the court could also order an additional fine equal to the financial benefit the defendants gained from committing the offence. This would ensure that fines are not able to be factored into the criminal's operating costs and would provide a real deterrent to these operations.

In addition to these three broad categories, the proposed amendments would also change several definitions, in order to be consistent with the port state measures agreement.

The amended definition of “fishing vessel” would include any vessel used in transshipping fish or marine plants that have not been previously landed. The scope of this definition is limited so that it would not include vessels that merely ship across the sea, such as those transporting grain. The proposed changes would also redefine the term “fish” itself. In keeping with the port state measures agreement and the Fisheries Act, “fish” would come to include fish, shellfish and crustaceans, whether processed or not. The amendments would also add a definition of “marine plant”.

Bill S-3 would strengthen the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, aligning it with the new global standard of the port state measures agreement.

As part of meeting our international obligations, the bill would allow us to protect the livelihoods of fish harvesters in Canada more effectively by limiting the amount of illegal fish that enter global markets.

I urge all hon. members to join with me in supporting these critical amendments to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:20 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to take the opportunity to pose a question to the minister. When we think of our coastal regions, there is a great deal of concern with respect to overfishing, quotas and so forth. Canada, traditionally, has played a fairly strong role internationally in demonstrating leadership in protection and conservational-type attitudes in what we can do to promote healthier fish stocks.

I wonder if the member would provide some insight, in terms of how the legislation would impact inland fisheries. I am thinking specifically of Lake Winnipeg. We have a lot of healthy freshwater fishing industries in Canada. I wonder if she would provide some comment with respect to whether the legislation would impact freshwater fishing.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:20 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is 100% right that Canada has always played a leading role when it comes to protection and conservation and doing the right thing when it comes to protecting our fisheries.

We are a major exporter of fishery products and because of that we are not immune to the economic impacts of illegal fishing in international trade. As I said in my remarks, this is indeed an international issue, and that is why Bill S-3 is being put forward. We do want to continue with our excellent role that we have been playing globally. We do want to be able to take part in the port state measures agreement.

To do that, we need to have the amendments that are being put forward in Bill S-3. We want to be able to continue to prevent illegal fishing and we want to be a part in setting the global standard for actions when vessels do seek to enter a port and they should not be.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:20 a.m.
See context

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite certainly laid out what this bill would do, but I am left with a number of questions about future plans for the current government. In particular, we know that in order for this international treaty to be ratified and implemented we need 25 countries to sign on to ratify the agreement.

I wonder what our government is doing in terms of taking a leadership role in working with those other countries to sign and ratify the port state measures agreement. I wonder if our government is actually taking a leadership role, specifically with some of our trading partners, like Mexico, Spain and Panama, whose fishing vessels we know are engaged in IUU, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This is a serious issue where Canada should be seen to take a leadership role, and I do not see any evidence of that happening.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, we do know that there have to be 25 member countries ratify this agreement before it comes into force. As of this date, I believe 11 countries have ratified it. We have two others that are very close to ratifying. Of course, Canada is moving forward with the amendments proposed in Bill S-3.

We certainly do not want to be the last country ratifying this agreement. We have always taken a leadership role when it comes to conservation and when it comes to trying to protect our fisheries. We want to be able to continue to do that. There are meetings constantly with other countries and we are certainly promoting that other countries do take part in this ratification.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am concerned that there has been little mention of our third coast on the Arctic.

My questions for the hon. member are these. Where in the budget, and in successive budgets, are we seeing stepped-up dollars to actually move forward on building these ships that will ply our waters and protect our fisheries? What measures have been taken, including through the Arctic Council, to ensure that we have better monitoring of what fishery is in our Arctic waters; and what measures should we be taking in co-operation with other nations to ensure that those fisheries are protected as well in our Arctic coastline?

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, certainly Canada plays a very strong role when it comes to protecting all of our shores. We know we have wonderful services in Vancouver on the west coast. It has full Coast Guard capacity there. It is doing all kinds of great work.

Bill S-3 would apply to all ports, so it is not just a bill that would apply to the east coast if that is what the member's concern was.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley Nova Scotia

Conservative

Scott Armstrong ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here today to add my support for amendments to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act. As we have heard the last time this bill was debated, members from both sides of the House recognized the importance of this bill moving forward. Unfortunately, the suggestion of my colleague, the member for Yukon, for a vote on this important bill was not supported by the opposition.

As a Nova Scotian, this issue is particularly important to the economy of my province and the economy of the riding I represent. It is certainly my hope that we will be able to pass this legislation quickly so that we can continue to focus on protecting fisheries at our ports with the new tools contained in this legislation.

The proposed changes we are discussing today would bring our already rigorous system in line with new international standards for combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as outlined in the port state measures agreement. As my colleague noted, in 2010, Canada signed this important agreement.

The agreement points the way towards practical, cost-effective solutions that will deter and stop illegal harvesting operations. It would do this by requiring some practical standards for ports around the world. For example, it spells out that vessels involved in illegal fishing activities would be refused entry into a port or the use of that port's services. It also sets minimum standards for information that vessels must provide to obtain entry into a port for the inspection of vessels and for the training of inspectors. Also, it allows for greater co-operation and exchange of information between jurisdictions.

It will require at least 25 ratifications for this agreement to enter into force. As my colleague mentioned, currently 11 members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have taken this step. Some 20 others, including Canada, have indicated that they are moving towards ratification. In doing so, these measures would support the global fight against illegal fishing and would help us protect the livelihoods of our hard-working fish harvesters here at home in Canada.

Our government is committed to supporting the efforts of our hard-working fishermen. As part of economic action plan 2015, our government is increasing the lifetime capital gains exemption to $1 million for owners of fishing businesses. This means that fishers and their families would have more money in their pockets.

On the topic of supporting our fishers, I would like to take a moment to speak to the economic advantages of approving these proposed legislative changes.

Canada currently enjoys one of the most valuable commercial fishing industries on the planet. Around 85% of Canadian fish and seafood products are exported internationally, to the tune of over $4 billion annually in export value. We are a major global player in the international seafood market. In fact, Canada is the world's seventh largest exporter of fish and seafood products, and we believe that this is going to grow exponentially. Of course, in order to ensure that this industry continues to provide strong economic opportunities to future generations, we are devoted to responsible fish harvesting practices. We closely monitor fishing within our own waters as well as the activities of Canadian fish harvesters as they conduct their craft on international waters.

With the current Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, Canada already has the tools to carefully monitor and regulate activities by foreign fishing vessels in Canadian waters and in specific areas of the high seas, but what about fish harvesters who do not act responsibly? What about those who try to bend or break the rules? The economic impact of those operations is very serious.

A 2008 study estimated that illegal fish harvesters are potentially siphoning off up to $23 billion from the global economy each year. By refusing to follow the rules and regulations, illegal fish harvesters can reduce their own operating costs, selfishly. This puts legitimate fish harvesters in Canada and around the world at an economic disadvantage.

Fish are one of the most globally traded food commodities. When we consider the volume of Canadian exports each year, it is clear that illegal fishing in other parts of the world does great damage to our economy.

Members should consider for a moment the impact of illegal fishing on our trading relationship with Europe. Between 2010 and 2012, the European Union imported an average of $25 billion annually in fish and seafood. Canada's share of that total was $400 million annually. With the upcoming comprehensive economic trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, our industry stands to have unprecedented access to the European market for our fish and seafood products. That is good news for Canadian fish harvesters and processors. When this agreement comes into force, it will lift 96% of tariffs on Canadian fish and seafood products, and remaining tariffs would disappear over the next seven years. We want to protect these economic opportunities for our fish harvesters from the detrimental impacts on prices caused by illegally caught fish.

Of course, these rules and regulations are in place not just to protect the livelihoods of legitimate fish harvesters, but they are also meant to safeguard our marine resources for future generations. When illegal fish harvesters break the rules that ensure global fish stocks are sustainable, they damage the ecosystems that the fish depend upon. Therefore, for both economic and environmental reasons, we must join our international partners to take comprehensive action to stop these devastating illegal fishing activities. That is exactly what we would do with Bill S-3. We would strengthen our already rigorous system and support this global action to protect the world's fisheries.

For example, our existing legislation, the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act and its regulations, gives the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans the discretion to authorize foreign fishing vessels to enter Canadian fisheries waters and Canadian ports. In other words, the act prohibits foreign fishing vessels from entering Canadian fisheries waters unless they are already authorized to do so by the act, regulations, or other Canadian law. The act also prohibits any person or crew member aboard a foreign fishing vessel from fishing in Canadian waters without proper authorization.

It is important to stress that Canada's legislation already serves us well. We are among the world's leaders in responsible fishing. Nevertheless, there are a few areas where our legislation could be strengthened before Canada meets the requirements of a new standard approach. This approach is outlined in the port state measures agreement. Today's debate is not only about strengthening the Canadian approach to our port control measures; it is also about supporting a global effort to fight illegal fishing. These two goals go hand-in-hand to protect and support both our industry and our environment.

To that end, Bill S-3 proposes several important changes that would make it possible to share information among federal departments and with our trusted international partners. These amendments would also allow Canadian authorities to take enforcement action against foreign fishing vessels that are directed to our ports by their flag states for inspection and enforcement purposes. These changes would make it illegal to import fish and fish products that are sourced through these criminal activities and would prevent their entry into our market.

Together these changes would create the conditions to ratify the port state measures agreement, an important tool in the global arsenal to fight illegal fishing.

Canada's fish and seafood industry is a mainstay of economic life in coastal and inland communities around the country. My riding is a prime example of this. Currently, the fishing industry employs 80,000 Canadians in jobs nationwide, ranging from fishing wild stocks to aquaculture harvests. With our government's ambitious trade agenda, these industries would benefit directly and see Canada's world-class seafood products on dinner plates across the globe.

We are already seeing some of these improvements and advantages taking place in industries like the lobster industry in Nova Scotia. However, in this global context we must continue to support the fight against illegal fishing, for both economic and environmental reasons. To that end, I am urging all hon. members to support changes to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act to protect our industry and our environment, and to ensure that we continue to protect this vital industry and economic resource for Canada's economy.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:35 a.m.
See context

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have the same question for my colleague opposite as I did for his colleague who spoke before him. I do not see any evidence of government wanting to take a leadership role on this.

This bill was first introduced in 2012. Here we are quite a few years later, and it still has not been passed by us here in Canada. I want to know this. Once we finally put this piece of legislation to rest and it is passed, will the government urge other countries in the international community to sign and ratify the port state measures agreement?

Beyond that, when we are looking at leadership internationally, would the government consider some regulation that is similar to the regulation we see in the EU, which would require all fish and seafood products entering the Canadian market to be certified and have their origins traceable? Those are really the next two steps here if we are to tackle this issue and be serious about it.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:35 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is a good question. As I said in my remarks, it would take 25 countries internationally to ratify this agreement to put it into force. Currently, 11 have done so. Canada is one of 25 other nations that are getting the legislation in place and moving toward ratification. As members can see, we are all moving together as an international global community to protect our fishing industry and our fishing environment.

As we ratify the agreement in Canada, we will continue to encourage our allies and our colleagues across the international community to put this measure in place. It would bring in international regulations that would have to be followed from one end of the globe to the other. We encourage all other nations to get on board, make sure we pass this legislation, and make sure we protect our industry and our environment.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to repeat the question I asked the member's colleague. Does the legislation in any way whatsoever have an impact on inland freshwater fishing? It is a significant industry within Canada. That is a question on which I would really appreciate an answer.

The second question is in regard to the timetable. Looking at it, the first question I put forward dealt with the strong role Canada could and should be playing on the international scene. I would ask the member why he feels it has taken so long just to get the legislation to the point it is at. Were they working with different stakeholders? Why has it taken this long to get us to this point?

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, as I said, so far 11 countries have ratified the agreement and 25 more are moving toward ratification. Canada is in this cohort of 25. We are working with our international partners to make sure we not only have this legislation in place moving forward, but we actually include as many countries as possible.

This is an international piece of legislation. It has to be ratified by many countries, 25 at least, to make it come into force, so we are working not only with the 11 countries that have already ratified but with other countries to encourage them to make sure we ratify this as quickly as possible.

We need at least 25 countries for it to come into force. We would be one of the next countries to ratify this, if all things go as planned, with the support of the opposition parties as well as this side of the House.

Things are progressing the way they should. International legislation sometimes takes longer than domestic legislation, simply because so many different parliaments have to use so many different regulations to pass this legislation. However, we are moving in the right direction. It is good legislation and we appreciate the opposition's support.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to note that I will be sharing my time with the member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.

We have Bill S-3, which is the current incarnation of this bill. I believe it was Bill S-13 before prorogation, so we have started it again. I will start by talking a little bit about the history, how we got to where we are, and the issue of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, or IUU fishing.

In the early 2000s, there was a small group of ministers and directors general of international NGOs who decided to take the lead on this issue of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. This group included ministers from Australia, Chile, Namibia, New Zealand, the U.K., and Canada. In 2003, they came together and established the High Seas Task Force to advise them and finalize an action plan. The aim was to provide political leadership to drive forward some very badly needed practical initiatives about IUU fishing that could be implemented immediately. That word “immediately” is important. This was in 2003. Members are going to see that we are really far behind on this issue.

Why would they have come together on this issue of IUU fishing? IUU fishing is a very serious international problem. It is a global problem. It is increasingly seen as one of the major obstacles to the achievement of sustainable world fisheries, something toward which I think everyone in the House wants to work.

The result of the task force included a 2006 report called “Closing the Net: Stopping illegal fishing on the high seas”. It is a fantastic report, and it found some basic facts. For example, it estimates that the worldwide value of IUU catches is between $4 billion U.S. and $9 billion U.S. a year. Of this, $1.25 billion comes from the high seas. The remainder is taken from exclusive economic zones of coastal states—for example, where Canada has the exclusive right to fish along its coast.

IUU losses are borne particularly by developing countries, believe it or not—actually, it is probably easy to believe—which provide over 50% of all internationally traded fishery products. This is why I have been asking the Conservatives about the idea of having mandatory labelling for seafood, because we do not know where these products are coming from, and we do not know if they have been caught legally or not.

Losses from the waters of sub-Saharan Africa, for example, amount to $1 billion U.S. a year. That is roughly equivalent to a quarter of Africa's total annual fisheries exports. We can see the gravity of the situation. The Pew environmental group notes that fisheries scientists estimate that illegal fishing accounts for up to 40% of fish caught in west Africa. That is a staggering number. IUU fishing, therefore, imposes significant economic costs on some of the poorest countries in the world, where dependency on fisheries for food, livelihoods, and revenues is very high. Moreover, it effectively undermines recent efforts by these countries to manage natural resources as a contribution to their growth and welfare.

IUU, or illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing does not respect national boundaries. It certainly does not respect international attempts to manage high seas resources. It really thrives where we see weak governance arrangements, and it is encouraged by the failure of countries—and we might put Canada on that list—to meet their international responsibilities. It puts unsustainable pressure on our fish stocks, on marine wildlife, and on habitats; it subverts labour standards; and frankly, it distorts markets. There is a lot at play here with IUU fishing.

It has proven to be incredibly resistant to recent international attempts to control it. Its persistence is due both to economic incentives, fuelled by demand, overcapacity, and weak governance, and to the lack of global political resolve to tackle its root causes. I will get back to that resolve in a few minutes.

This report, “Closing the Net”, states:

An extensive framework of international measures has emerged with the aim of resolving...[this issue], but a central difficulty has been to garner the political resolve to carry forward targets and declarations already agreed.

That is the situation we are in now. Many states are reluctant to adopt measures aimed at controlling their fishing vessels on the high seas. Even where they have adopted such measures, enforcement, which is key, is patchy at best.

Thanks to the work of the High Seas Task Force, another international work, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization created the 2009 agreement on port state measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This is where we are today. The bill would effectively enact that agreement. It would implement that 2009 agreement in Canada by amending the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act.

I want to emphasize how important it is that Canada live up to its UN obligations and that Canada be a world leader in combatting IUU fishing. We have the ability to do so and we are pleased to see that the government is taking action on this issue with Bill S-3.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is not only an environmental concern, and of course a concern for our marine ecosystems, but it undermines the sustainable practices of legitimate fishing operations, including those in Canada, and it presents unfair market competition to sustainable seafood. The changes in the bill would help protect fishermen and their communities from unfair competition, which is important to the fishermen in the area around Halifax as well as across Canada. While the bill represents a small step in the right direction, it comes on the heels of decades of Conservative and Liberal mismanagement, taking Canada in the wrong direction.

I will point out that after years of experience as the environment minister in Quebec, the NDP leader understands the important relationship between environmental protections and a thriving fishing industry in Canada. Canadians can trust the leader of the NDP to grow the economy, while protecting the environment. That is the situation we have here, where we want to grow the economy and grow our fishery, yet ensure its sustainable, it is legal and it is regulated. This is the balance that needs to be struck.

We have heard about the dire situation when it comes to illegal fishing globally. The time to act is now. The bill means that Canada can ratify the FAO's 2009 agreement. Once Canada has fully ratified the port state measures agreement, Canada needs to advocate internationally for other countries to do the same. As we have heard from other speakers, we need 25 countries if we are to realize this agreement internationally, so time is of the essence.

The bill was passed in the Senate in 2012, and it has only been recently brought to the House of Commons and sent to committee. While we support the bill, we support it so it is actually passed. However, what has been happening? Why has the government been dragging its feet on the bill? We have heard all this talk about IUU fishing and our international pledge to ratify a bill in 2012, yet we are in 2015, three and a half weeks before the House rises, and now we finally see the bill.

Remember that the worldwide value of IUU catches is between $4 billion to $9 billion a year, yet we waited year after year to ratify this, not to mention the ecological devastation that comes with illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

We are not alone in wondering what the heck the delay has been. Patrick McGuinness from the Fisheries Council of Canada was at committee. He said:

The problem that has emerged in trying to address this IUU through an international agreement, the port states agreement, is that it's taking so long. It took a long time to negotiate and it's going to take a long time to be ratified by a significant number of countries to be able to attest that this is the right thing in addressing the IUU fishing issue that has been identified.

The New Democrats support this legislation. I wonder why it has taken so long to bring it forward, especially when its ratification means so much because of the need for 25 countries to sign on before it becomes enforceable.

I have other questions about the legislation, and I have asked some of them of Conservative members, but I will save the rest for later.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member made reference to the leader of the official opposition doing some good on the environment. At the time he was part of a Liberal government as minister of the environment and he did some goods things, but that was in the capacity of a Liberal cabinet, No doubt, that likely contributed to some of the work he did.

The question I have for the member is with regard to the treaty. She really put some emphasis on it, and we are inclined to agree with her on that. The government has not been diligent and has definitely not been proactive in getting this legislation through the House in any form of an expedited fashion. Maybe the member could provide further comment on this. She is right in the sense that the government has not demonstrated leadership.

If we take a look at the role that Canada as a nation should be playing, I suspect there is no other country in the world that has as much coastline as Canada. I could be wrong, and I may be a little biased in favour of my country. However, it should have been playing a much stronger leadership role.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2015 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for raising the fact that the leader of my party was a cabinet minister in a federalist party. That is really important to underline.

I agree with the member that we have not seen any kind of leadership. It is not just on this issue, though. The Conservatives are very good about saying, internationally, that they are going to talk the big talk and sign onto this and onto that, but it is the actual implementation. That is really important.

A very good example of that is this. My colleague from New Westminster—Coquitlam brought forward a bill that would ban shark finning in Canadian waters. We have a ban, but it is not legislated. We also have no law to prevent the importation of shark fins. Therefore, my colleague thought we should take action. As legislators, that is what we should do. He brought forward this bill and it was defeated, 143 to 38. How can we tell the world that we do not agree with shark finning, yet not have legislation to enforce that ban or prevent the importation of shark fins? They do not exactly come into Canada with labels on them to say where they come from.

It is all about putting our money where our mouths are or, as we heard in the House the other day, putting our mouths where our money is. I am confused on that one. No, we have not seen any action.