Canada and Spain sign agreement about conservation of fisheries

In a better spirit and more wisely than in past wrangles about fishing, Loyola Hearn, the Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Elena Espinosa, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in Spain, signed a MOU agreement on September 9th.

The Canada-Spain MOU will advance technical, scientific, economic, and enforcement efforts related to fisheries issues, particularly in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. This includes promoting joint participation in research projects, encouraging commercial exchanges, and facilitating initiatives that will continue to improve the conservation and management of regulated fisheries.

The Spanish oceanographic vessel, Vizconde de Eza

The Spanish oceanographic vessel Vizconde de Eza

The fishing industry is very important to both Canada and Spain. Both countries have reached the conclusion that, by establishing broader science networks, they can learn from one another and improve their marine science capacity. Thus, a strong scientific foundation will be established for proper decisions to be made at the international level, ensuring sustainable use of the resource.

This MOU enhances a cooperation already visible through the Collaborative marine science initiative launched this year. The background for the project was a Spain-Canada workshop in New Brunswick last Spring (March 2007) to support the sustainable management of both nations’ fisheries and oceans. The result was an agreement to collaborate on the following fields : fisheries science, aquatic invasive species, aquatic animal health, and aquaculture and genomics.

The CanadaSpain agreement provides a framework for scientific projects of mutual interest. So far, some initial research projects have been funded, on fisheries science ($25K) and aquatic invasive species ($25K).In August 2007, DFO scientists collaborated with their Spanish counterparts on a scientific survey on Greenland halibut and other species in Canadian waters. This research will increase the knowledge of straddling stocks and provide a greater joint understanding of the Grand Banks ecosystem.

Regular teleconference calls between Spain and Canada keep the Marine Science Collaboration Initiative advancing and information on fisheries science and survey activities flowing.

In addition, senior Canadian officials, and officials from Genome Canada, are planning to travel to Spain in October 2007 to discuss possible genomics research and other science projects with Spanish officials.

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