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Why hasn't Russia been kicked out of NAFO yet for war on Ukraine?

Russian seafood is banned around the world, so why is that country's offshore dragger fleet still permitted to fish outside Canadian waters as one of 13-member countries (including Ukraine) of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization?

The Russian dragger Novaya Zemlya has a history of illegal fishing outside Canada's 200-mile limit. For a complete history of Russian fishing off Newfoundland and Labrador read this 1962 MacLean's magazine piece: THE SOVIET’S FLOATING CITY IN OUR ATLANTIC WATERS

Should Russia be kicked out of NAFO like it's been kicked out of everything else: from hockey tournaments to Canadian airspace (the list of sanctions is a long one).

SEA-NL first raised the question of Russia's continued membership in NAFO on Feb. 28th: Should Russia be kicked out of NAFO; its trawler fleet banned from fishing outside Cdn waters?

On March 1st, NAFO's executive secretary, Fred Kingston, told Undercurrent News it is possible to kick Russia out of the organization as a result of its invasion of Ukraine, but such an action would require a NAFO-member country (like Canada) to request a vote, which would take months and eventually require a two-thirds majority.

It almost seemed like Kingston didn't want the bother.

As it happens, the President of NAFO and Chair of the Commission is is Temur Tairov of the Russian Federation, elected in September 2021.

As it also happens, Canada's commissioner to NAFO is Keith Sullivan, President of the FFAW-Unifor.

Sullivan shouldn't have to be prodded to open his mouth.


Offshore factory-freezer trawlers from Russia will have access to thousands of tonnes of fish this year on the continental shelf outside the imaginary line that is Canada's 200-mile limit.

Quotas include 9,137 tonnes of redfish on the Flemish Cap, 5,207 tonnes of the redfish quota in fishing zones 3LN, 6,500 tonnes of the redfish quota in 3O, 1,167 tonnes of skate in 3LNO, 1,500 tonnes of turbot in 3LNO, plus smaller amounts of cod, flounder, hake, and squid.

For a history of Russia's fishing off the East Coast of Canada read this fascinating MacLean's magazine piece from 1962: THE SOVIET’S FLOATING CITY IN OUR ATLANTIC WATERS

Dr. Wilfred Templeman of the Newfoundland fisheries research station had this to say about the size of Russian fleet back then: "A Newfoundland dragger trying to fish with the Russian fleet would be like a man on a bicycle in New York traffic."

Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director, SEA-NL

To read more about SEA-NL, and for owner-operators to join please visit our website or e-mail Please sign SEA-NL's petition to the House of Commons on non-core commercial fishing licences here.

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