A spokesman for the Maritime Fishermen's Union says a set of principles that could promote the growth of small-scale fisheries globally is at risk.

Christian Brun says he's frustrated that Ottawa appears unwilling to compromise on guidelines aimed at protecting small-scale fisheries.

Canadian scientists are urging the federal government to sanction the document from a committee with the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization.

Canada is at odds with other nations, because of a wording change that calls for the protection of fishermen "in situations of occupation," meaning any occupied territory or region. 

Canada is the only dissenting voice out of 97 other member states.

Brun says there are about 8,500 independent fishing captains in Atlantic Canada.

He says they are part of small-scale fisheries that account for about $2-billion in export revenues in the region.

Brun says he hopes the document can be salvaged when it's presented in Rome on June 8 for further debate.

With files from CBC News