Fisheries law

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Fishery on Lake Tondano, Indonesia Fishery Lake Tondano.JPG
Fishery on Lake Tondano, Indonesia

Fisheries law is an emerging and specialized area of law. Fisheries law is the study and analysis of different fisheries management approaches such as catch shares e.g. Individual Transferable Quotas; TURFs; and others. The study of fisheries law is important in order to craft policy guidelines that maximize sustainability and legal enforcement. [1] This specific legal area is rarely taught at law schools around the world, which leaves a vacuum of advocacy and research. Fisheries law also takes into account international treaties and industry norms in order to analyze fisheries management regulations. [2] In addition, fisheries law includes access to justice for small-scale fisheries and coastal and aboriginal communities and labor issues such as child labor laws, employment law, and family law. [3]


Another important area of research covered in fisheries law is seafood safety. Each country, or region, around the world has a varying degree of seafood safety standards and regulations. These regulations can contain a large diversity of fisheries management schemes including quota or catch share systems. It is important to study seafood safety regulations around the world in order to craft policy guidelines from countries who have implemented effective schemes. Also, this body of research can identify areas of improvement for countries who have not yet been able to master efficient and effective seafood safety regulations.

Fisheries law also includes the study of aquaculture laws and regulations. Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms, such as fish and aquatic plants. This body of research also encompasses animal feed regulations and requirements. It is important to regulate what feed is consumed by fish in order to prevent risks to human health and safety.

Territorial Use Rights for Fishing (TURF)

Territorial Use Rights for Fishing (TURF) programs are a unique type of fishery law applicable for small scale fisheries. These community based programs allocate area based fishing privileges to groups or individuals with the goal of preventing overexploitation and unsustainable fishing. [4] TURFs are usually granted to communities with longstanding traditions of sustainable fishing and are managed by the local fishermen. [5] Although they are mainly community based, conservation guidelines are set at a federal level and governments have the authority to enforce TURFs. This form of management is used around the world, with the most successful examples being in Chile and Japan, and is modified to fit the social norms, needs, and goals of the community. [6]

TURFs are being promoted as a potential tool for conserving biodiversity but mainly applicable to non migratory species. However, the exploitation of migratory species can be managed through cooperating neighboring TURFs. [7] In Chile there are over 700 TURFs that create a network around 1100 square kilometers. [8] As the fishermen rely on these areas for their livelihoods, this system incentivises them to manage these fisheries sustainably. [9]

Seafood Safety Regulations

U.S. Labeling of Genetically Engineered Salmon

On November 19, 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved AquaBounty Technologies’ application to sell the AquAdvantage salmon to U.S. consumers. [10] The possible introduction of genetically engineered salmon into the marketplace furthers discussion involving ethics, protection of the natural environment, international and domestic trade law, labeling practices, nutrition, and constitutional issues. As the FDA points out, nutrition labeling for raw produce (fruits and vegetables), fish, and genetically modified products, is voluntary. [11] Under section 403(a)(1) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act ("FD&C Act"), a food is misbranded if its labeling is “false or misleading in any particular”. [12] Section 201(n) of the FD&C Act provides that labeling is misleading if it fails to reveal facts that are material in light of representations made or suggested in the labeling. [13] In regards to the AquAdvantage salmon, the FDA has stated:

"Based on our assessments of food derived from the AquAdvantage Salmon, we have determined that the term “Atlantic salmon” is the appropriate common or usual name for such food within the meaning of section 403(i) of the FD&C Act because AquAdvantage Salmon meets FDA’s regulatory standard for Atlantic salmon (Ref. 10) and the composition and basic nature of food from AquAdvantage Salmon does not significantly differ from its non-GE counterpart—non-GE farm-raised Atlantic salmon. In addition, we have determined that food derived from AquAdvantage Salmon is as safe and nutritious as food from other farm-raised Atlantic salmon. For these reasons, we have concluded that there is no material difference between food derived from AquAdvantage Salmon and food derived from other non-GE, farm-raised Atlantic salmon that is required to be disclosed in the labeling of food derived from AquAdvantage Salmon under the relevant provisions of the FD&C Act, as explained above." [14]

Canadian Labeling of Genetically Engineered Salmon

In 2014, Canada was a top-five producer of GM crops in the world, and is one of the largest players on the global market. [15] Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ("CFIA") carry joint responsibility for federally food labeling policies in Canada under the Food and Drugs Act ("F&D Act"). [16] Under the F&D Act, GMOs are defined as “novel foods”. A novel food is allowed to enter the Canadian marketplace only after it has passed an assessment undertaken by various stakeholders. Health Canada is responsible for deciding all health and safety labeling policies for food products, such as special dietary needs or GM products, and ensuring that the products are safe for consumption. [17] The CFIA is responsible for the development of all non-health and safety food labeling regulations and policies and the enforcement of labeling legislation. [17] Standards are set by the CFIA so that Canadian food labels are truthful and not misleading.

Subsection 5(1) of the F&D Act states that “no person shall label, package, treat, process, sell or advertise any food in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression regarding its character, value, quantity, composition, merit or safety”. Food must be labelled only if there are changes in the food such as problematic allergens or a significant nutrient or compositional change. Health Canada has not released an official statement concerning the AquAdvantage salmon, but does state on its website: “after twelve years of reviewing the safety of novel foods, Health Canada is not aware of any published scientific evidence demonstrating that novel foods are any less safe than traditional foods. The regulatory framework put in place by the federal government ensures that new and modified foods can be safely introduced in to the Canadian diet”. [18]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Food and Drug Administration</span> Agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services

The United States Food and Drug Administration is a federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs (medications), vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices (ERED), cosmetics, animal foods & feed and veterinary products.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Genetically modified food</span> Foods produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA

Genetically modified foods, also known as genetically engineered foods, or bioengineered foods are foods produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering techniques allow for the introduction of new traits as well as greater control over traits when compared to previous methods, such as selective breeding and mutation breeding.

A health claim on a food label and in food marketing is a claim by a manufacturer of food products that their food will reduce the risk of developing a disease or condition. For example, it is claimed by the manufacturers of oat cereals that oat bran can reduce cholesterol, which will lower the chances of developing serious heart conditions. Vague health claims include that the food inside is "healthy," "organic," "low fat," "non-GMO," "no sugar added," or "natural".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fishery</span> Raising or harvesting fish

Fishery can mean either the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life; or more commonly, the site where such enterprise takes place. Commercial fisheries include wild fisheries and fish farms, both in freshwater waterbodies and the oceans. About 500 million people worldwide are economically dependent on fisheries. 171 million tonnes of fish were produced in 2016, but overfishing is an increasing problem — causing declines in some populations.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is a regulatory agency that is dedicated to the safeguarding of food, plants, and animals (FPA) in Canada, thus enhancing the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy. The agency is governed by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister of Health.

In food safety, the concept of substantial equivalence holds that the safety of a new food, particularly one that has been genetically modified (GM), may be assessed by comparing it with a similar traditional food that has proven safe in normal use over time. It was first formulated as a food safety policy in 1993, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act</span> Acts of the United States Congress

The United States Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act is a set of laws passed by the United States Congress in 1938 giving authority to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to oversee the safety of food, drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics. A principal author of this law was Royal S. Copeland, a three-term U.S. senator from New York. In 1968, the Electronic Product Radiation Control provisions were added to the FD&C. Also in that year the FDA formed the Drug Efficacy Study Implementation (DESI) to incorporate into FD&C regulations the recommendations from a National Academy of Sciences investigation of effectiveness of previously marketed drugs. The act has been amended many times, most recently to add requirements about bioterrorism preparations.

A food safety agency or food administration is a kind of agency found in various countries and international organizations with responsibilities related to food, primarily with ensuring the safety of food sold or distributed to the population, and with ensuring that food sellers inform the population of the origins and health qualities and risks associated with food being sold.

The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition is the branch of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that regulates food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, drugs, biologics, medical devices, and radiological products.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aquaculture of salmonids</span> Farming and harvesting of salmonids under controlled conditions

The aquaculture of salmonids is the farming and harvesting of salmonids under controlled conditions for both commercial and recreational purposes. Salmonids, along with carp, and tilapia are the three most important fish species in aquaculture. The most commonly commercially farmed salmonid is the Atlantic salmon. In the U.S. Chinook salmon and rainbow trout are the most commonly farmed salmonids for recreational and subsistence fishing through the National Fish Hatchery System. In Europe, brown trout are the most commonly reared fish for recreational restocking. Commonly farmed nonsalmonid fish groups include tilapia, catfish, sea bass, and bream.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Genetically modified fish</span>

Genetically modified fish are organisms from the taxonomic clade which includes the classes Agnatha, Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes whose genetic material (DNA) has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the fish which does not occur naturally in the species, i.e. transgenesis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">AquAdvantage salmon</span> Genetically modified Atlantic salmon

AquAdvantage salmon is a genetically engineered (GE) fish, a GE Atlantic salmon developed by AquaBounty Technologies in 1989. The typical growth hormone-regulating gene in the Atlantic salmon was replaced with the growth hormone-regulating gene from Pacific Chinook salmon, with a promoter sequence from ocean pout. This gene enables the GM salmon to grow year-round instead of only during spring and summer.

A fish company is a company which specializes in the processing of fish products. Fish that are processed by a fish company include cod, hake, haddock, tuna, herring, mackerel, salmon and pollock.

AquaBounty Technologies is a biotechnology company based in Maynard, Massachusetts, United States. The company is notable for its research and development of genetically modified fish. It aims to create products that aim to increase the productivity of aquaculture. As of 2020, sale of salmon has been approved in Canada and the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Regulation of genetic engineering</span> Overview of the regulation of genetic engineering

The regulation of genetic engineering varies widely by country. Countries such as the United States, Canada, Lebanon and Egypt use substantial equivalence as the starting point when assessing safety, while many countries such as those in the European Union, Brazil and China authorize GMO cultivation on a case-by-case basis. Many countries allow the import of GM food with authorization, but either do not allow its cultivation or have provisions for cultivation, but no GM products are yet produced. Most countries that do not allow for GMO cultivation do permit research. Most (85%) of the world's GMO crops are grown in the Americas. One of the key issues concerning regulators is whether GM products should be labeled. Labeling of GMO products in the marketplace is required in 64 countries. Labeling can be mandatory up to a threshold GM content level or voluntary. A study investigating voluntary labeling in South Africa found that 31% of products labeled as GMO-free had a GM content above 1.0%. In Canada and the USA labeling of GM food is voluntary, while in Europe all food or feed which contains greater than 0.9% of approved GMOs must be labelled.

Seafood species can be mislabelled in misleading ways. This article examines the history and types of mislabelling, and looks at the current state of the law in different locations.

Federal responsibility for Canadian food labelling requirements is shared between two departments, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). All labelling information that is provided on food labels or in advertisements, as required by legislation, must be accurate, truthful and not misleading. Ingredient lists must accurately reflect the contents and their relative proportions in a food. Nutrition facts tables must accurately reflect the amount of a nutrient present in a food. Net quantity declarations must accurately reflect the amount of food in the package. Certain claims, such as those relating to nutrient content, organic, kosher, halal and certain disease-risk reduction claims, are subject to specific regulatory requirements in addition to the prohibitions in the various acts. For claims that are not subject to specific regulatory requirements, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and/or Health Canada provide interpretive guidance that assist industry in compliance.

Adam Soliman is the director of The Fisheries Law Centre. He is a researcher focused on legal and economic issues in Fisheries. He teaches fisheries law in several countries and advocates for further access to justice in small-scale fisheries. He researches and conducts analysis to issues in fisheries management with special focus on small-scale fisheries. He specializes in fisheries management scheme and property rights particularly in catch shares and other management schemes.

Genetic engineering in North America is any genetic engineering activities in North America

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  12. 21 U.S.C. § 343(a)(1).
  13. 21 U.S.C. § 321(n).
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  16. RSC 1985, c. F-27.
  17. 1 2 Government of Canada, Labelling of Genetically Engineered Foods in Canada, online: Canadian Food Inspection Agency <> "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 3, 2004. Retrieved May 22, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link).
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