North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission adopted management measures for 5 out of 7 fisheries

November 19, 2010 13:56

At its 29th Annual Meeting held in London on 8-12 November 2010, under the chairmanship of Acting President, Mr Johan H. Williams, Norway, NEAFC adopted management measures for 5 out of 7 fisheries. Parties will continue consultations on 2 pelagic redfish in the Irminger Sea early next year and mackerel later this year with a view to agreeing measures at a later date, reports with reference to NEAFC.

Based on Coastal State Agreements, management measures for the two major pelagic fisheries - Norwegian Spring Spawning (Atlanto-Scandian) herring and blue whiting - were agreed as were management measures for Rockall haddock and deep-sea fisheries. For pelagic redfish in the Norwegian Sea arrangements similar to those for 2009 were agreed.

For pelagic redfish in the Irminger Sea, the Coastal States (the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland) invited the other Parties to a meeting in January to bring into place management measures for 2011. It was agreed to ban any fishery until April 2011. Parties discussed mackerel and agreed to continue negotiations in the coastal state group (the EU, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway) until measures can be adopted by NEAFC.

A ban on using gillnets in waters greater than 200 metres depth was maintained as were measures to remove and dispose of unmarked or illegal fixed gear and retrieve lost gear to minimise ghost fishing.

Considering the poor status of some shark stocks, spurdog (Squalus acanthias), basking shark, (Cetorhinus maximus) and porbeagle (Lamna nasus) in the Northeast Atlantic, NEAFC agreed to ban all directed fisheries for these shark species. The competence for regulating sharks is shared between the two RFMOs, NEAFC and ICCAT, in the North East Atlantic. NEAFC is seeking clarification on which species are under the direct purview of NEAFC, and agreed on a request for advice from ICES.

NEAFC maintained a ban on discards in NEAFC high seas fisheries.

A proposal to extend the area closures on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge has been reviewed by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.

NEAFC noted the continued results of the NEAFC IUU (Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported) A- and B-lists. The transhipment activities that underpinned these fisheries have been brought under control by flag states, reefer registries and owners of reefer vessels. The NEAFC Port State Control System, which was introduced on 1 May 2007, has continued to work without problems and is deemed to have led to a significant reduction in unreported catches in the NEAFC area.

Based on information on vessels on the IUU B-list that had sunk or been scrapped, NEAFC removed 2 vessels from the B-list.

The cooperative non-Contracting Party status of Belize, Canada, the Cook Islands, Japan, and New Zealand was renewed for 2011.

In September 2008 NEAFC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with its environmental counterpart in the North East Atlantic, the OSPAR Commission (for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic), and the Annual Meeting considered how to make the MoU operational.

NEAFC agreed to consider the feasibility of organising a regional workshop in the first half of 2011, inviting other Intergovernmental Organisations to participate in a review of progress on ecosystem-based area management in international waters in the North Atlantic, 3 with a particular emphasis on defining management objectives. This will also respond to calls from for example the CBD COP 10 Meeting in Nagoya in October and other international processes reviewing the protection and conservation of vulnerable marine ecosystems.

Commenting on these developments the Acting NEAFC President said: We were not able to reach agreement in all matters but Contracting Parties have a tradition of close cooperation and will reach solutions that can be adopted by NEAFC in order to have firm regulations for all fisheries. We have a solid framework to support sustainable fisheries, where legal operators are well protected. With our extensive measures on bottom fishing activities in the high seas, NEAFC is fully prepared to meet all requirements in international law and instruments, technical guidelines adopted in FAO and the objective of its own Convention to ensure the long-term conservation and optimum utilisation of the fishery resources in the Convention Area, providing sustainable economic, environmental and social benefits'.

The alignment with our sister organisation in the North East Atlantic, OSPAR (protecting and conserving the North-East Atlantic and its resources) and the general progress in cooperation with other intergovernmental organisations with a mandate to regulate other human activities in the oceans is also important. It seems to be possible to get over the fallacy that conservation and utilisation compete. For a number of good reasons they should cooperate and in most aspects have a common cause. There is no sector more than fisheries that has an interest in clean seas and healthy ecosystems."

For more information, please contact Kjartan Hoydal, Secretary of NEAFC

Telephone +44 02076310016

Mobile +44 07788457070


or the NEAFC website

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