NAFO CONTINUES TO MOVE FORWARD
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, 21 September 2012
The 34th Annual Meeting of NAFO concluded successfully today making positive
decisions being made for the management of fish stocks and protection of
ecosystems in the Northwest Atlantic Area.
NAFO continues to address issues raised in the Performance Review conducted
in 2011 by setting priorities and timelines to implement the recommendations
contained in the report and took action to implement them.
Taking into account the scientific advice, Total Allowable Catches (TAC)
were set for fishing on ten stocks while a further ten stocks remain under
moratoria including the shrimp on the Flemish Cap.
NAFO has moveds to strengthen its protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems
(VME) by introducing a raft of measures aimed at clarifying existing
provisions, strengthening others and introducing new catch limits for
fragile organisms, such as sea pens, on the seabed.
NAFO continues the closure of 11 areas of coral/sponge concentrations and 6
seamounts to bottom fishing. These areas contain significant concentrations
of VME indicator species.
Drawing on the latest scientific information, NAFO expanded the list of VME
indicator species (now recognizing 67 species which indicate a VME) and
adopted a new list of VME elements in line with the FAO International
NAFO continues to develop Conservation Plans and Rebuilding Strategies
frameworks for commercially important stocks such as American Plaice and Cod
on the Grand Bank. When the objectives of the rebuilding Plan are met these
stocks can again be fished by the international community. Efforts will
continue to develop frameworks for Witch Flounder on the Grand Bank, and the
initial development of CPRS for both northern Grand Bank Redfish and Flemish
Cap Cod which have only recently been re-opened for directed fishing.
NAFO took steps to ensure the quality of its scientific advice for fish
stocks by engaging in an independant peer review of the way catches are
estimated in stock assessment. This examination will continue with further
investigation into the reasons for the discrepancy between official catch
figures and scientific estimates.
Additional highlights of the meeting can be found in the attached
For more information contact: Barbara Marshall, NAFO Secretariat -
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
2012 Annual meeting Press Release
21 September 2012
NAFO is an international intergovernmental fisheries science and management
body that manages the fishery in the international portion of the Northwest
Atlantic. The 34th Annual Meeting was held during 17-21 September 2012 at
the Pribaltiyskaya Park Inn Hotel, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation and
was attended by 175 delegates from all Contracting Parties (Canada, Cuba,
Denmark (in respect of Faroe Islands and Greenland), European Union, France
(in respect of St. Pierre et Miquelon), Iceland, Japan, Republic of Korea,
Norway, Russian Federation, Ukraine and United States of America.
The meeting was also attended by observers from the Northeast Atlantic
Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), North Atlantic Marine mammal Commission
(NAMMCO), International Commission Conservation of the Atlantic Tunas
(ICCAT), Southeast Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO) and Conservation
of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the World Wildlife Fund
(WWF), and Pew Environment Group.
The three bodies of NAFO, General Council (chaired by Veronika Veits, EU),
Fisheries Commission (chaired by Sylvie Lapointe, Canada) and Scientific
Council (chaired by Carsten Hvingel, Norway) and their subsidiary bodies met
over the course of a week to deliberate on management measures and
scientific assessment regarding the international fisheries of the Northwest
Atlantic. The scientific advice and a quinquennial review of environmental
conditions was presented.
Five NAFO Contracting Parties have now ratified the amended NAFO Convention
and others were strongly encouraged to continue their efforts to do so in
their respective governments.
The main function of NAFO is to regulate fisheries in the Northwest Atlantic
consistent with advice from an international panel of scientists. Total
allowable catches (TACs) are set in accordance with the precautionary
principle. NAFO agreed on management measures for the 20 fish, shrimp and
squid stocks. For the recently reopened stock of Redfish in the northern
Grand Bank caution was considered for this slow-growing species. While
shrimps on the Flemish Cap remain below their precautionary threshold and
are closed to fishing, the latest data on the Grand Bank Shrimp stock
suggests the decline in this stock has been halted and a TAC of 8 600 tons
was set. For Thorny Skate on the Grand Bank, catch limits were reduced to be
more in line with recent catches to encourage stock rebuilding.
Stocks which until recent years have been depleted and closed to fishing are
now performing well. Yellowtail Flounder on the Grand Banks was closed to
fishing between 1995 and 1997, but is now well above precautionary
thresholds and a TAC of 17 000 tons was set. Cod on the Flemish Cap (Div.
3M), which was at very low levels and under a moratorium to fishing between
1994 and 2009 continues to grow at a remarkable rate, and a TAC of 14 113
tons was set. Other stocks are recovering at a slower rate, and fishing on
stocks such as American Plaice and Cod on the Grand Bank remains suspended.
NAFO has been amongst the most proactive of RFMOs when it comes to
protection of vulnerable marine organisms which can be harmed by fishing,
closing over 360,000km2 to bottom fishing since 2006. At their latest
meeting NAFO took steps to enhance this protection, in accordance with UNGA
Resolution 61/105, by lowering the catch of sponges and corals needed to
trigger "move-on" rules, requiring fishing vessels to move away from areas
where there may be high densities of these creatures. Positions of these
vulnerbale marine indicators must be reported.
Catch thresholds for "sea-pens", a long, frond-like type of soft coral, have
been introduced for the first time. NAFO also revised its rules on fishing
outside of currently fished areas, requiring national administrations to
submit a plan of any bottom fishing in exploratory and new areas to be
submitted for review by NAFO's scientific and management bodies, which can
result in permission to fish being granted, prohibited or requiring specific
measures to protect marine life.
Conservation Plans and Rebuilding Strategies (CPRS) were developed and
established in order to bring or maintain the stocks at levels that can
support sustainable fishing. Stocks under CPRS are constantly assessed and
monitored. Harvesting strategies are determined and adjusted accordingly.
Currently two stocks on the Grand Bank, American Plaice and Cod which have
been in moratoria since 1995 are managed with CPRS. The moratoria continue
on these stocks.
NAFO also established priorities for developing CPRS for other stocks:
continuing efforts for southern Grand Bank Witch Flounder which has been
under moratorium since 1995, and initial development for both northern Grand
Bank Redfish and Flemish Cap Cod which were re-opened in 2010 after a decade
NAFO has continued the process of reforming itself following the 2011
Performance Assessment Report. Following a working group session, which
looked into the best way forward in March 2012, the General Council of NAFO
adopted its plans, particularly endorsing those which enable closer working
relationships between scientists and managers and ensuring best data and
science are available. Consequently, a number of working groups on
conservation and rebuilding of fish stocks, management strategies and
vulnerable marine ecosystems, which were previously held under the auspices
of the Fisheries Commission, will become joint working groups of the
Scientific Council and Fisheries Commission.
The number of fishing vessels in the Regulatory Area has recently increased
but still remains much lower than historical numbers. The inspection rate
has remained stable since 2006.
NAFO has established a fund to continue to support mapping vulnerable marine
ecosystems (VMEs) in the NAFO Regulatory Area (NAFO PotEntial VulneRable
Marine Ecosystems - Impacts of Deep-SeA Fisheries (NEREIDA).
NAFO Secretariat updated its website with a modern look and feel. A new
"Data" section has been created to provide easier access to statistical and
geo-spatial information. Material on frameworks, such as the Precautionary
Approach, Ecosystem Approach, CPRS and MSE has been added. A new ICNAF
section includes a history of the predecessor of NAFO and the ICNAF
publications which have been digitized. ICNAF meeting and research documents
are also being scanned and will be uploaded as they are finalized.
A new secured area for NAFO Inspectors was also introduced to allow
comprehensive access to important official fisheries documentation.
The 35th Annual Meeting will be held in Halifax, NS, Canada
Prior to the Annual Meeting, the following NAFO meetings were held:
Scientific Council/NIPAG Meeting on Shrimp Assessment, Dartmouth, NS,
Canada, 19-26 October 2011; Scientific Council WGEAFM, Dartmouth, NS,
Canada, 30 November-09 December 2011; Scientific Council Ad hoc Working
Group on Exceptional Circumstances (by correspondence), January-March 2012;
GC Working Group on the Development of Plans of Action for the
Implementation of the Recommendations of the NAFO Performance Review Panel,
Halifax, NS, Canada, 20-22 March 2012; Joint NAFO/ICES Working Group on
Deep-water Ecology (WGDEC), Copenhagen, Denmark, 26-30 March 2012;
International Fisheries Commissions Pension Society Annual Meeting,
Washington, DC, USA, 19-20 April 2012; Standing Committee on International
Control (STACTIC), Brussels, Belgium, 2-4 May 2012; Scientific Council
Working Group on Reproductive Potential (by correspondence and ad hoc
meetings); Scientific Council and its Standing Committees, Dartmouth, Nova
Scotia, Canada, 1-14 June 2012. Reports of all NAFO meeting are finalized
following the meeting end and are posted on the public NAFO website. Reports
from General Council and Fisheries Commission (and Standing Committees) can
be accessed at http://www.nafo.int/publications/frames/fish-proc.html and
Scientific Council Reports at
The table of NAFO TACs and quotas agreed at the 34th Annual meeting can be
found at http://www.nafo.int/fisheries/quota.pdf. The entire Press Release
is available as a pd file at
Dr. Vladimir Shibanov
NAFO Executive Secretary - 21 September 2012, St. Petersburg, Russian
For more information contact: Barbara Marshall, Information Officer, NAFO
Secretariat - www.nafo.int
Tel: +1-902-468-5590 - E-mail: bmarsh...@nafo.int