Canada - USA Bilateral Fisheries Management in the Gulf of Maine: Under the Radar Screen

David VanderZwaag


Canada and the USA have developed a series of cooperative initiatives that address transboundary fisheries issues in the Gulf of Maine. The Canada – USA Steering Committee serves as an umbrella forum for discussing and coordinating transboundary management measures. Through the work of the Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee and the Transboundary Management Guidance Committee, the Steering Committee has overseen the development of joint scientific stock assessments and a sharing agreement for groundfish resources in the vicinity of the eastern Georges Bank. The bilateral Fisheries Enforcement Agreement helps ensure the success of such cooperative management initiatives by combating illegal fishing in the vicinity of the international boundary. However, the largely informal ‘under the radar screen’ arrangements, while positive on many fronts, to date fall short of fully implementing key principles of sustainable development, such as public participation, the ecosystem approach, integration and precaution.

This paper was co-authored with Emily Pudden, Dalhousie University (


Environmental Law; Fish and Wildlife; International Law

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