November 1, 2021
Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian fishery officers have now completed their work in Operation North Pacific Guard, an annual international law enforcement operation in the high seas of the North Pacific with Canada’s counterparts from the United States, Korea and Japan. The operation largely took part aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf and included the deployment of a Fisheries and Oceans Canada aircraft patrol based in Japan.
Results from the operation include the detection of prohibited gear, failure to maintain records of catch, improper vessel markings and illegal retention of salmon. Overall, the operation detected 42 violations, 25 of which are considered serious violations of regional fisheries management organization measures that will be investigated and addressed by relevant flag states where warranted.
In addition to supporting the Bertholf, Canada’s aircraft detected and collected evidence of active shark finning and dumping of garbage into the Pacific.
The operation is part of Canada’s larger role in helping to protect Canadian livelihoods, fish stocks and marine ecosystems by working with other countries and non-government organizations to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing on the global stage, and better understand potential harms to migratory stocks such as Pacific salmon and tuna.
For several years, Operation North Pacific Guard has been an opportunity for international law enforcement partners from Pacific nations to jointly detect and deter illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing on the high seas, and to monitor compliance with international laws using the latest technologies and enforcement best practices, including Canada’s Dark Vessel Detection Program.
Joint operations such as this are critical for monitoring fleet activity and compliance with international agreements such as the United Nations ban on high seas driftnets as well as conservation measures under regional fisheries management organizations.
Operation North Pacific Guard was supported by Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new Dash-8 patrol aircraft, and guided by intelligence cooperation from Global Fishing Watch, Canada’s Department of National Defence, US Coast Guard District 17, and Canada’s Marine Security Operations Centre.