NAFO Takes Stock Further Progress made on International Fishery Management

October 8, 2010 12:14

Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization - a range of conservation and management measures were adopted for fish stocks in international waters and straddling national fishing limits based on the precautionary approach, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to NAFO.

With a commitment to apply an ecosystem approach to fisheries management, NAFO agreed to further refine its provisions to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems from significant adverse impacts of bottom fisheries, which included the extended closure of 6 seamounts in international waters. To take stock of the effectiveness of NAFO as a regional fisheries management organization, an expert panel will work together over the next year to produce a performance assessment of the work of NAFO.

The meeting agreed on management measures for 20 fish stocks in or straddling the NAFO Regulatory Area (NRA) in 2011. Following the reopening of Flemish Cap cod (Div. 3M) and Grand Bank redfish (Div. 3LN) last year and, based on new scientific advice, total allowable catch (TACs) for these stocks were increased. Fisheries for a number of other stocks remain closed. Based on the latest scientific advice on the continued very low level of the shrimp stock on the Flemish Cap, it was agreed that fisheries for shrimp in this area should not be permitted in 2011.

NAFO has agreed upon a progressive strategy to manage Greenland halibut in its Regulatory Area, developed by a working group comprising fishery managers and scientists. The new management strategy provides for the annual adjustment of the TAC according to defined rules and will be implemented for four years.

Over the next year NAFO will begin to develop Conservation Plans and Stock Rebuilding Strategies for protected and recovering fish stocks such as Cod Div. 3NO and American plaice Div. 3LNO. This will be a collaborative effort between fishery managers and scientists.

NAFO continues to develop its enforcement measures by implementing an improved system for recording daily catches of all species in the NRA. This allows for simplified reporting requirements and enhanced monitoring capability and will be incorporated in the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS).

NAFO continues to improve its management and conservation regime to fulfil its commitment to prevent significant adverse impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems, as called for by UN General Assembly (UNGA) by, among other things, agreeing on a map of existing fishing areas.

Furthermore NAFO has agreed to extend the closure of 6 seamounts for the next 4 years; the implementation of impact assessments of bottom fishing; and application of a more comprehensive data collection protocol for coral and sponge species.

In 2011 NAFO will undergo a Performance Review by a panel of experts. The Panel will consist of external reviewers and experts from Contracting Parties. The Panel will assess the performance of NAFO against the objectives set out in the NAFO Convention and other relevant international instruments addressing the conservation and management of marine living resources.

To date the ratification of the amended NAFO Convention has been completed by two Contracting Parties. The internal processes continue and an update will be given during the next Annual Meeting.

Some results from a new joint multidisciplinary scientific survey (NEREIDA) that was successfully conducted by NAFO Contracting Parties to examine fishing resources and vulnerable marine ecosystems within the NRA were presented.

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