Tuesday, September 29, 2015

29/09/2015: North Atlantic Fisheries Organisation enhances the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems

The European Commission welcomes the decisions during the 37th annual meeting of NAFO (North Atlantic Fisheries Organisation, 21-25 September 2015, Halifax, Canada), which contain a strong commitment of its Contracting Parties to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems, by adopting Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for a number of stocks taking due account of scientific advice and by taking further measures to improve the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems.

NAFO has also decided to continue working towards the improvement of the data base for stock assessments, the development and review of risk based management strategies, and the implementation of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. In regard to control and compliance, NAFO adopted measures based on EU proposals that will favour transparency in fishing activities.
Important progress has also been achieved as regards the information exchange between Canadian authorities and the NAFO Secretariat to ensure smooth co-existence between hydrocarbon and fishing activities, notably in view of the increasing oil and gas exploratory activities in the NAFO Regulatory Area.

However, despite overwhelming support by many Contracting Parties there was no progress in the attempt to align NAFO port inspection rules with the FAO Port State Measures Agreement, a crucial tool in fighting IUU fishing.

The EU has also presented a proposal to update the existing shark management rules in line with the EU ban on shark finning. Whereas only few sharks are caught in the NAFO area, the EU continuously supports initiatives across Regional Fisheries Management Organisations to end this practice worldwide. The proposal was supported by many delegations, including the US; however NAFO did not manage to adopt the fins-naturally-attached policy this year.

The 38th NAFO Annual Meeting will be held in Varadero, Cuba, from 19 –23 September 2016.

NAFO is an intergovernmental fisheries science and management body which seeks to contribute to the rational management and conservation of the fishery resources of its Convention Area. Currently NAFO has 12 Members from North America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean, including the EU, France (with respect to St. Pierre et Miquelon), Denmark (with respect to the Faroe Islands and Greenland), the USA, and Canada.

See map of NAFO's regulatory area HERE.  

Visit the European Commission Fisheries site HERE.

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