Canada closes ports to Faroe Island fishers

Canada closes ports to Faroe Island fishers for taking too many fish and misrepresenting the extent of their catches.

Canada has banned fishing vessels from the Faroe Islands from Canadian ports for the remainder of the year, a move that has some people in Newfoundland and Labrador hoping Ottawa will continue to crackdown on foreign overfishing.

Federal Fisheries Minister Robert Thibault made the announcement Thursday, stating that departmental evidence showed boats from the Islands violated international fishing agreements, including misrepresenting their catch, and exceeding shrimp quotas.

The Islands, located 450 kilometres southeast of Iceland, are a part of Denmark.

"I will not tolerate the wilful abuse of NAFO (Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization) quotas and rules exhibited by this fleet," Thibault said in a release.

"The Faroese were aware of Canadian concerns. Their fleet's persistent violations of NAFO measures reflect a disregard for the conservation of shrimp stocks, and for the measures that have been adopted to protect them."

The ban means vessels from the Faroe Islands will not be permitted to use Canadian ports for supply and rest stopovers, or to sell their catch. But Thibault left open the option to review the ban if the Faroese co-operate.

Earle McCurdy, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers' Union says the ban is a good start for Ottawa.

"Government has to be prepared to act against any other countries that conduct themselves in the manner that the Faroese did," said McCurdy.

Russian vessel carrying banned cod

And the government says this is just the beginning.

In another investigation into illegal fishing, the DFO has confirmed a Russian fishing vessel being held in Newfoundland is carrying a load of cod, a species currently under moratorium.

The Olga was initially accused of dumping an oily substance into the Atlantic. Its captain and first officer are facing six charges relating to the allegations.

On Thursday, Thibault confirmed that the  Olga has 45 tonnes of cod on board, which, according to the minister, is too much to be considered by-product. 

The vessel is docked in the port of Long Point, in Conception Bay. DFO says it is being held for "technical deficiencies."