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EC welcomes NAFO's decisions

Fishing operations in the NAFO area. (Photo Credit: Odin HjellestadOdin Hjellestad/Copyright: FIS)

Monday, September 29, 2014, 22:50 (GMT + 9)
The European Commission has welcomed the outcomes of the 36th Annual Meeting of theNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) held in Vigo, Spain from 22 to 26 September, 2014.

The decisions taken by the 12 members showed their commitment to sustainable fishing, the protection of the environment, and improvements to control and enforcement.

Agreement was reached on the setting of catch limits, based on scientific advice, for stocks in the NAFO area whilst further moves were made towards long term management plans. Following a thorough review, it was also decided that the existing area closures that aim at protecting Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) remain in place until the end of 2020. An EU proposal to enlarge the closure system by two, bringing the total number of closures to 20, was also adopted.

Substantial progress was achieved on the control and enforcement system. It was agreed to review NAFO's observer scheme as well as to fully align NAFO’s port state control scheme to the FAO Port State Measures Agreement.

NAFO parties agreed to make more data available for better science as basis for sound management decisions. Work will also continue on improving data quality and availability. NAFO has also started work on tackling the issue of by-catch and discards.  To that end a by-catch quota for redfish is being tested in one of NAFO's area.

In view of the expanding oil and gas exploratory activities within NAFO, it was decided on the basis of an EU proposal that the organisation should engage with Canadian authorities. The objective of the exercise will be to set up an information exchange mechanism in order to avoid unnecessary interference of hydrocarbon exploratory activities on fishing activities.

In line with EU shark-finning ban, the EU re-tabled a joint proposal with the USA to modernise NAFO rules on shark management. The proposal, which would have introduced a fins-naturally-attached-policy at landing, received increased support from members but was unfortunately not adopted. A major step was also taken in the fight against illegal fishing by accepting International Maritime Organization numbers as unique vessel identifiers.

Click here to see the table of NAFO TACs and quotas agreed at the 36th Annual Meeting.

The 37th NAFO Annual Meeting will be in held Halifax, Canada, from 21 – 25 September 2015. 

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