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 7th, 2015 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, I represent one of the largest and most valuable fisheries ridings in the country. Our landed catch, along with West Nova, the neighbouring riding, is somewhere in excess of 20% of the entire Canadian fishery on all three coasts.

If the member were to ask the fishermen in my riding, they would tell her that there is lots of enforcement. There is a process in place, which the hon. member is very aware of. They have to hail out before they leave to go fishing and they have to hail back in. There are on-board inspections. There is an inspection when they come to the wharf. It is very difficult to break the rules in Canada. Also, there is much more electronic surveillance available. A good part of the fleet carries a black box, so they have geographical positioning at all times, so fisheries and oceans can track those vessels. They know if they are fishing up against the line, if they are not allowed inside the 30-mile line, or if they are supposed to fish outside the 50-mile line. We know where they are at all times.

In answer to her question, enforcement is extremely important, but enforcement tools are more robust and far reaching than they have ever been.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, our fish harvesters work tirelessly on the seas to make a living, often in challenging conditions. Through their determination, these efforts support the economies of coastal communities and, more broadly, a multibillion-dollar seafood industry for Canada.

Therefore, it is completely unacceptable that international poachers are ignoring national and international rules and regulations that allow them to avoid the true cost of fishing. They leave distorted market prices and missed profits in their wake, which undermines the livelihoods of our legitimate fish harvesters and threatens the stability and the sustainability of global fisheries.

That is why I am pleased to support Bill S-3, an act to amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, which would give Canada additional tools to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities.

Our government has embarked upon the most ambitious trade agenda in our nation's history. This is important in the context of this bill. Through our comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the EU and the Canada-Korea free trade agreement, we are opening up new markets and economic opportunities for all Canadian industries and sectors. Our fish and seafood producers will be able to benefit significantly from these agreements with the reduction and removal of tariffs on our world-class products.

However, as we gain increased market access, it becomes all the more important that we support global efforts to fight illegal fisheries.

According to a 2008 British study, the impact of illegal fishing activities is staggering. The global economic loss from these fisheries is estimated at $10 billion U.S. to $23 billion U.S. annually.

The impact of global activities by illegal fishing vessels on the high seas does affect Canadians. After all, Canada exports 85% of its fish and seafood products. This generates a healthy $4 billion for our economy every year. However, if we could curtain illegal fishing internationally, we would do even better.

As a British Columbian, I know how illegal fishing half a world away can have a real impact upon Canada's bottom line. In British Columbia, our once-thriving red and green sea urchin fishery severely declined when illegally harvested products entered international trade and flooded the market. These short-sighted actions by criminals looking to make a quick profit have caused massive damage to this fishery. Illegal fishing is not just some far-off issue. It has real economic impacts for those who make their living from the sea and the communities that depend upon this income.

The strong economic argument is one reason why Canada joined other countries to adopt the port state measures agreement.

There are strong environmental reasons why Canada supports the agreement. Illegal fishing undermines the sustainable management of both fisheries and the ecosystems and habitants upon which those fisheries depend. The port state measures agreement is a logical step in the global effort to improve fisheries' conservation, by ensuring that only legally harvested fish can enter ports for domestic markets and international trade. That is what Bill S-3 is all about.

Canada already has many of the core requirements in place to ratify the port state measures agreement. However, there are a few areas where we need to align our legislation with the new global standard. Specifically, these amendments would expand inspection and enforcement powers beyond the traditional fishing vessel; strengthen prohibitions and international enforcement against imports of illegally harvested fish products; and create an enforcement regime for foreign fishing vessels ordered to port by the flag state for enforcement purposes.

I will speak to two of these important amendments: the ability of flag states to order their ships to port; and improved information sharing among enforcement partners.

Under the Coastal Fisheries Protection Regulations, a foreign fishing vessel must apply for a licence to enter a Canadian port at least 30 days in advance of its entry into Canadian fisheries waters. However, a vessel that has been fishing illegally has good reason to avoid our ports and therefore the vessel is unlikely to apply for entry. Even if the nation responsible for the vessel, the flag state, orders the vessel to enter a Canadian port for inspection, the current legal system requires that the vessel itself apply for a licence. To address this, Bill S-3 would authorize fisheries protection officers to take appropriate enforcement action when the circumstance is such that the vessel is directed to port by its flag state solely for inspection purposes.

It is important to note that this amendment would not change Canada's ability to refuse port access to any illegal fishing vessel that violates conservation and enforcement measures of regional fisheries management bodies. What it would do is implement a key provision of the port state measures agreement. Generally, the agreement requires parties to refuse entry to vessels involved in illegal fishing. This would now be an exception in order to enable a party to allow such a vessel to enter port for the purpose of inspecting it, gathering evidence and taking other appropriate enforcement action on behalf of the flag state.

To crack down on illegal fishing internationally, we need intelligence and better sharing protocols among our enforcement officers at home and leading nations when it comes to tracking offenders. That is why the second area of amendments focuses on improving information sharing. Through this bill, for example, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency would gain new and express authority to share information with each other. Similarly, Canada would gain clearer authority to share information regarding actions taken against illegal foreign fishing vessels with other responsible states and regional and international organizations. For example, the information could include the fact that we denied a foreign vessel entry into a Canadian port, any enforcement action that we might take, the results of any inspection and the outcome of any legal proceedings.

Experience tells us that globally strong port state measures can deter illegal fishing. The port state measures agreement represents one of the most efficient and effective approaches to deal with illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing across the globe. Supporting Bill S-3 would allow Canada to follow through on this important international commitment. I urge all members to support this bill.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's comments on this act and the amendment and proposed changes. He did talk about illegal fishing, as did the parliamentary secretary earlier.

My question is in terms of illegal fishing. We are well aware that one of the worst offenders is the shark fishery. Scientists tell us that over 100 million sharks a year are being fished out of our seas. They are being targeted for their fins. It is a very brutal fishery where the fins are cut off and the shark is then tossed back into the ocean, often alive and left to suffocate. It is a brutal way for this fishery to do that to these animals. As members know, sharks play a key role in maintaining the health of our oceans.

If the government is serious about illegal fishing, I am wondering why we have not been able to make more inroads. For instance, I put forward a private member's bill to ban the importation of shark fin to Canada. The government had an opportunity to vote on this to make a difference in illegal fishing. We know this fishery is mainly composed of illegal fishing. The Conservatives could have made a difference by voting with me and with the opposition but they did not. I wonder if the hon. member could explain why they did not do that.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Duncan Conservative Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are amendments to Bill S-3 that allow the government to make documentation requirements for seafood imports consistent with the catch document requirements of regional fisheries management organizations around the world. Therefore, once we pass this bill, any illegal fish in any part of the world would then be illegal in Canada. I think that addresses the concerns that the member has just expressed.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is no surprise that the Liberals would certainly support any measures that help prevent overfishing and illegal fishing in our waters. After all, we were the people who introduced the 200-mile limit off Canada to protect our fishing industries. We were the ones who fought the Spanish in the turbot wars to protect the Canadian fisheries and to shut out foreign interests.

However, we also know it is equally important to protect our own fishing people in this country. The government opposite has cut things like marine Coast Guard centres in St. John's, Newfoundland and Coast Guard radio operations in places like St. Anthony, where people in the industry depend on it.

When the member spoke, he talked about protecting our fishermen who put their lives on the line and go out there on the sea. Therefore, I would ask him if he supports reinstating those services so that we can ensure that the lives of the fishing people are protected in this country.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Duncan Conservative Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, like the member from Atlantic Canada who spoke before me, the member for South Shore—St. Margaret's, I come from a large coastal riding with a lot of commercial fisheries. I am also host to the Canadian Forces air base in Comox where we run aerial surveillance right out into the mid-Pacific and ensure that the use of the long nets that had been used throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s to intercept valuable fisheries pretty much comes to an end due to the aerial reconnaissance that Canada has carried out and continues to carry out.

We have done a lot of good things on the fisheries resource. Many of our salmon runs are coming back. We have put individual quotas in place on most of our groundfisheries and commercial harvesting is now in a very sustainable place, so I am not finding the same findings that the member for Labrador is alluding to.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is privilege to stand on behalf of the official opposition New Democratic Party of Canada and speak to this important Bill S-3, an act to amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act. Behind that rather anodyne title I think reside some very important principles.

I should say at the outset that I am proud to be sharing my time with the hon. member for New Westminster—Coquitlam.

The bill essentially deals with an extremely important industry for Canada, which is our fisheries, and the very important need to protect the coastal communities and the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who depend on that fishery, and the many jobs that come with it, for their livelihoods.

A couple of statistics show the importance of the problem the bill aims to address, which is illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. A 2008 study estimated that the economic loss worldwide due to pirate fishing ranges from U.S. $10 billion to U.S. $23 billion every year.

Illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing produces between 11 million and 26 million tonnes of seafood annually and can represent as much as 40% of the total catch in some fisheries.

Canada's commercial wild capture fisheries, aquaculture, and fish and seafood processing contribute $5.4 billion in total GDP annually and support 71,000 full-time equivalent employees in this country's economy.

The official opposition New Democrats want to focus on the importance of the bill in protecting our fisheries resources and in starting to tackle illegal fishing, because it undermines conservation and management efforts put forth by Canada and others to ensure that the fishing industry remains sustainable. Of course, underlying everything is the important need to protect our ocean ecosystems. The changes proposed in the bill will help protect fishers and their communities from unfair competition, and we support the bill accordingly.

Bill S-3 has been a long time coming, and if there is one criticism we would make of the government is that it has taken an unacceptable amount of time to bring this legislation before the House. With the numbers I just went over, we see that every year of delay costs our economy billions of dollars and harms the ecosystems of the world.

The bill was introduced in the Senate and passed third reading on March 7, 2013, some two years ago. After prorogation, the bill was reintroduced as Bill S-3, and it passed through the Senate again. It was introduced in the House of Commons on February 11, 2014, so it has taken the government a number of years to bring this legislation before the House, and I have not heard any acceptable reason for that.

I want to go over some of the provisions of the bill so that we can get an idea of why the bill is important and what it actually does to change Canadian law.

The Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, one of the pieces of legislation the bill amends, regulates foreign fishing vessels that are fishing in Canadian fisheries waters and are harvesting sedentary species, like oysters and clams, on the continental shelf of Canada beyond Canadian fisheries waters. The act also extends its application to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization regulatory area, and it prohibits specific classes or sizes of foreign fishing vessels from fishing for straddling stocks, that is, fish that move between international waters in the regulatory domestic area. The act also prohibits fishing vessels without nationality from fishing in Canadian or NAFO waters.

I will stop there for a moment, because this reminds me of a very concerning provision in the comprehensive economic trade agreement, CETA, that is currently being discussed between Canada and the European Union. By the way, contrary to what the Conservatives say, that treaty is not concluded. We have no final official text yet. It is still being worked on, although it is expected to come some time this year or perhaps next year.

There is a provision in CETA that deals with cabotage that has many people in this country in the seafaring industry concerned, and that is the provision that would allow European flag vessels to move containers on inland Canadian waters, primarily between Newfoundland and Montreal. The seafaring industry and the seafarers' union, in particular, are very concerned that permitting foreign flagged vessels on inland Canadian waters represents a threat not only to their jobs but to the security of Canada.

I should point out that the United States has the Jones Act, which prohibits any foreign flagged vessel from anywhere from plying American inland waters. Only U.S. flag vessels can do that. It is so the U.S. can keep control of the crews and the security of their ships. However, the Conservative government wants to allow foreign flag vessels to ply Canadian inland waters and seas. I would point out that this is a concern the New Democrats will be bringing up if CETA ever comes before the House in legislative form.

The port state measures agreement is an agreement that aims to prevent illegally caught fish from entering international markets through ports. Under the terms of the treaty, foreign vessels would provide advance notice and request permission for port entry, countries would conduct regular inspections in accordance with the universal minimum standards, offending vessels would be denied the use of ports or certain port services, and information-sharing networks would be created. The reason this provision is important is that Canada should be a world leader in preventing illegally caught fish from entering international markets through our ports.

Here is another irony. About six months ago, I raised in this very House the practice of illegally caught fin whale meat entering the Port of Halifax, being transported across Canada, and leaving the port of Vancouver. Fin whale meat is an endangered species, and Canada is a signatory to international conventions that prevent us from engaging in the trade of fin whale meat. I raised in the House that Canada was being used as a conduit by a Scandinavian country to ship its illegally caught whale meat through Canada to Japanese markets, and the government has done nothing since to stop it. Therefore, it is ironic that Conservatives stand in the House and try to look like they are preventing illegally caught fish from entering Canada or markets through our ports, when they are permitting endangered whale meat at this very moment to go through our ports.

I also want to point to the government's failures with regard to taking care of our oceans and fisheries. My hon. colleague from New Westminster—Coquitlam has already brought up his excellent bill that would prohibit the importation of shark fins into this country, because, of course, there is an absolute crisis in our oceans with illegal shark finning, and the Conservatives refuse to act on that.

In addition, it has been pointed out that the government has closed Coast Guard stations and maritime communications centres on both coasts, including in my city of Vancouver, where it closed the Kitsilano Coast Guard station. I have already seen the foolishness of that decision, because there was just an oil spill in English Bay, right off the coast of Vancouver. Everyone in Vancouver and British Columbia knows that had the Kitsilano Coast Guard station been open, there would have been a quicker response time, and that oil spill would have been contained better and more quickly. Yet as a result of the Conservatives' mismanagement in this area, they actually caused toxic damage to be done to the ocean off the coast of Vancouver because of their shortsighted decision.

I also want to talk a little about fish stock conservation. The fishery on both coasts, in fact, on all three coasts in this country, is extremely important. It is important to aboriginal people, coastal communities, Canadian consumers, and the fishing industry. Yet the government has not taken adequate steps to protect fishery stocks in this country.

On the coast of British Columbia, its iconic species of salmon is critical to the economy of British Columbia and in fact to the culture of British Columbia. I know that the people of British Columbia want to see their federal government take every step possible to make sure that there are sustainable fish stocks of every species, on all coasts, today and for generations to come.

With an NDP government, which will happen this fall, they will see a government that will actually take better steps to conserve fish stocks on the east coast, the west coast, in the north, and in the inland waterways, where the current government has gutted navigable waters protection. They will see a New Democrat government that will protect all waters in this country and all of the life within those waters for the benefit of future generations and our economy.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if I understood correctly, the NDP will be supporting this bill, so I congratulate him on that.

I want to ask him a question on a separate but I think related topic, because he touched on it somewhat in his words. Under the previous Liberal government, there was the complete destruction of the ability of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Coast Guard to respond to a number of issues on either coast. We have embarked on a national shipbuilding strategy, which would renew the fleets of both the Royal Canadian Navy and the Coast Guard. A large part of this is the reconstruction and rebuilding of yards on both the east and west coasts, potentially very close to the member's riding.

I wonder if he might comment on how important it is that we get these vessels completed and on the importance of these vessels not only in securing our borders from illegal fishing but in helping to improve the local economies of British Columbia and our Atlantic provinces.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. I would congratulate the government on its made-in-Canada procurement solution to our navy needs. I am very happy to see that the government has done that. The NDP has been calling for that for decades to make sure that we stimulate the Canadian shipbuilding industry.

The member is quite right that on the north shore of the Lower Mainland we have Seaspan, which is going to get, I think, several billion dollars of work. That will not only help British Columbians and the British Columbia shipbuilding industry but will provide what we all believe we need to have a well-equipped navy.

I want to just for a moment address his reference to the performance of the previous Liberal governments. Under the previous Liberal governments, and we have heard some bragging here, we saw the collapse of the cod fishery. We saw the mismanagement of several species of fishery stocks in this country, which created crises in many provinces. We saw an infrastructure deficit build up under the previous Liberal governments, which basically balanced their budgets by ignoring important infrastructure and pressing social needs.

Again, with a New Democratic government this October, Canadians will have a chance to see a government that actually invests in infrastructure and does not allow such a deficit to build up only to pass on that responsibility to future generations.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is always great to have dreams, I say.

Liberals believe in the vital role of the fishing industry. We know the number of Canadians who are dependent on this industry. Protecting this industry is why we brought in the 200-mile limit. It is why we challenged the Spanish in the turbot war. It was so we could protect the Canadian fishing industry from foreign fishing.

We support the bill before us today. However, the problem I see, and I ask the member if he shares this, is that it was the Conservative government that cut $4.2 million and 23 jobs in Canada's offshore surveillance of foreign fishing vessels. Today they are talking about giving more powers to Canadian fisheries protection officers and greater authority for enforcement, but do they not also need to give them the resources and tools to do their jobs appropriately and not cut the people who are out there enforcing these policies already?

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member is correct in the sense that we can pass all the laws we want in the House, and we can put words on paper, but it really comes down to providing the actual resources on the ground to the civil service and the regulatory bodies that are charged with actually making the goals of these pieces of legislation a reality.

I want to stop for a moment, because my hon. colleague mentioned that it is good to have dreams, and it is. Tommy Douglas, one of the founders and towering figures of Canadian politics, said do not dream little dreams. What we saw yesterday in Alberta is what happens when people come together and choose the politics of hope and a politics of investing in our communities. They chose a New Democratic government that will provide a better form of government, not like the Conservative and Liberal failures that have marked this country for far too long. It will change this October.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about Bill S-3, an act to amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, the Port State Measures Agreement implementation act.

I just want to provide a little background. It is an act to amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act. It was introduced in the Senate, about which of course we have some serious concerns, not only about that body in the upper chamber but how this bill was introduced. However, it was passed at third reading on March 7, 2013, after prorogation. The bill was then reintroduced as Bill S-3 and passed through the Senate again. It was introduced in the House of Commons on February 11, 2014.

The bill would amend the CFPA to implement the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's 2009 Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. In addition, Bill S-3 would add to the act prohibitions relating to importing illegally acquired fish and marine plants, and would clarify some of the act's administration and enforcement provisions.

Under the CFPA, the act would also prohibit fishing vessels without nationality from fishing in Canadian or NAFO waters. The United States has introduced similar legislation in an effort to ratify the PSMA. It should be noted that the agreement can only come into force after it has been ratified by 25 nations.

We in the official opposition think this is a small step in the right direction. We, in fact, support this bill and support this measure. However, we have some serious concerns. We have some concerns about how this bill would be resourced and how it would actually come into effect and be implemented.

I want to talk about some of those concerns, whether they be the fisheries, the Coast Guard, or dealing with our oceans. I think this really speaks to the commitment of the government to invest in the real concern of illegal fishing, which is surveillance. We can look at the past actions of the government. When it comes to the fisheries, it has gutted the Fisheries Act.

This is a critical tool that has been used to protect our fishery for over 100 years in this country. It is a powerful piece of legislation. Under this watch, under this government, it has now been gutted. It specifically went after a section, under habitat, where it has made very significant changes that would weaken the Fisheries Act and the protection of our fishery.

The resources to habitat are critical because I think this speaks to what the government's agenda is, which is really focused on getting oil to the coast. We on the west coast certainly know that is a clear agenda the government has. It has been open about the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline, which would traverse northern British Columbia through watersheds that are critical to fish and fisheries. That is a clear objective that the government has, and it is overriding the fisheries and our commitment to a sound investment in fisheries.

We can also see that in terms of the government's lack of investment on science, or hearing from scientists. We are not getting that information from scientists because the government is muzzling those scientists. They are not able to speak out on some of these serious concerns. Once they find these concerns through their studies, getting that to the public is made even more difficult.

The government has made significant cuts to the department in terms of its resources over the years, and has not spent some of the budgeted funding that is available. We are seeing a pattern here in terms of the fisheries. When we look to the Coast Guard, which is there to protect our coast, to prohibit illegal vessels from coming into Canadian waters, we are seeing cuts there, as well.

We are seeing cuts in the busiest port in the country, Vancouver, to the Kitsilano Coast Guard station. There has been a huge outcry from many people across the political spectrum, from the province to cities to health concerns to mariners to recreational boaters. All have said the same thing, that closing that strategically located station in a key position in that port is going to not only cost lives but will make a difference.

My hon. colleague from Vancouver Kingsway mentioned we recently had a very small spill in English Bay, and that station could have played a key role in maintaining and confining that spill. Unfortunately, it was not able to do that. It is closed. The equipment that was there obviously could not be used. These are indications of a government that is not serious about investing in the resources needed to protect, investigate, and do the surveillance needed for an illegal fishery.

I come back to our Coast Guard. I am from the west coast. My riding of New Westminster—Coquitlam, along with Port Moody, right on the Fraser River, also touches Burrard Inlet, so I am nestled in coastal waters in an important riding that is part of the fisheries on the Fraser River. It is one of the greatest salmon rivers in the world. Therefore, it is important to my riding that the federal government is investing in coastal protection.

We had five MCTS stations on the west coast until the government closed three of the five. It closed the Ucluelet, Comox, and Vancouver stations. The Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres are really the air traffic controllers for the oceans. The centres play a critical role in knowing what vessels are out there and what is happening on the waters. The government is closing three of the five, leaving two, one in Victoria and one in Prince Rupert, near Alaska, to do the entire coast. This is unacceptable. This is going to cause problems. After the closure in Vancouver, there will be zero Coast Guard presence in Vancouver. Canadians and those on the coast in British Columbia and Vancouver find that completely unacceptable. It will lead to problems. They have been speaking out for years, in the case of the Kitsilano closure, and the government has refused to listen.

In terms of our oceans, we have a lack of science and knowledge about the changing of the oceans and the impact climate change, for instance, is having on our oceans. Also, there is acidification. The ocean is increasing in acidity, and that is playing a key role in how things change. That speaks again to a lack of investment to find out and to know what those key changes will be.

Earlier, I asked a question about why the government did not support my private member's bill to ban the importation of shark fins to Canada. Our scientists are telling us that sharks are playing a key role in maintaining the health of the oceans, and we are losing them at a dramatic rate, more than 100 million sharks a year. It is hard to fathom that we are losing that many sharks a year. They play a critical role in maintaining the balance of our ocean ecosystem, yet we are not getting the response needed from the government. It was a very close vote. It lost by five votes. All it needed was three more Conservative members. We did have three who stood up and voted with the opposition on that vote, but unfortunately, we did not have enough. That was a simple measure that could have made a difference.

I know the bill is just really a housekeeping measure, but if the government is really serious about tackling illegal fishing, then it must invest the resources needed to deal with our fisheries, including our Coast Guard, and also to look at our oceans.

It is important to mention some of the validators that have come forward to lend their concerns. I want to quickly finish by mentioning two. The Pew environmental group has said:

Illegal fishing is a major threat to the sustainability of the world’s fisheries. Some estimates are that illegal and unreported fishing accounts for up to $23.5 billion worth of fish annually worldwide, and up to 20 percent of all of the wild marine fish caught globally. In some parts of the world, the situation is even more dire. For example, fisheries scientists estimate that illegal fishing accounts for up to 40 percent of fish caught in West Africa.

I can go on. I wanted to mention Brad Caldwell, who is the west coast co-chair of the fisheries committee of the Canadian Maritime Law Association. However, I am out of time. Maybe somebody will ask me a question about what he had to say on this bill.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 1 p.m.
See context

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that excellent question. That is going to allow me to enter into the record what Mr. Caldwell had to say, and it is important. He said:

The CMLA is strongly in support of DFO’s initiative to curb IUU fishing through the implementation of this bill. Although we strongly support it, there is one area where we feel there could be some modest room for improvement....

A suggested modest improvement to the bill involves the proposed change to section 13 of the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act. Our proposal would be very similar to a change that was proposed by the Government of Canada to section 71(2) of the Fisheries Act back in 2007 when it tabled Bill C-32.

I enter that into the record.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 1 p.m.
See context

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, first I want to thank the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam for his outstanding advocacy and work in protecting fisheries on the west coast. He is a well-known champion and advocate, and his activism in response to the recent oil spill in English Bay was just outstanding. I know he spoke for thousands of people in metro Vancouver who have so much concern.

I would like to ask the member a question on his comments about the importance of coastal protection and how this, as he has pointed out, is really just a housekeeping bill, but the issue that underlies this is coastal protection. It seems incredible that three out of five of the marine communications control centres were closed. Is there anywhere else in the world that would have that kind of lack of oversight in and environment where so much of a complex coast would be unprotected, particularly in metro Vancouver where there is, of course, so much marine traffic? I wonder if the member would just expand upon that a bit more.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

May 7th, 2015 / 1:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her service to this House over the years. That is a great question.

As the member mentioned, I definitely have commitment to ocean health and ocean protection, as does our leader. We are committed to investing in the resources, which is what is really missing. The thrust of my speech was about how there is not that investment and commitment to make a difference in terms of illegal and unreported fishing.

When we look around the world at other jurisdictions, we see the opposite. Where there are similar moves to reduce government involvement, we see problems. In Europe, they are investing now. They are hiring more officials to deal with their coastal protection.

This is the wrong direction. Our Coast Guard officials to whom I have spoken have clearly said that cutting the MCTS stations is going to cost lives. This will not help in terms of increasing our surveillance on the waters. In fact, the limit on the west coast over which we as a country had surveillance was 50 miles just until late last year, when it was reduced to 12 miles.

These are both the wrong directions: to shrink our jurisdiction to 12 nautical miles off the west coast, and to shrink the amount of resources we are investing in protection. It is inexcusable. It is not the right direction. It is not what Canadians want.

I know that, on October 19, Canadians and those in Vancouver who were very concerned about the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station and the lack of an MCTS station will have an opportunity to vote in an NDP government to make those changes, to make those investments to increase our coastal protection and communities.