St. Petersburg, Russia – Key fish stocks in the Northwest Atlantic will be better protected now that several countries are adopting measures to rebuild vulnerable marine ecosystems.
The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) adopted the measures at its 34th annual meeting in Russia late last month.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada says the total allowable catch decisions made at the 2012 meeting are in line with scientific advice, which the organization says is a significant step forward. And it’s something that Canada has been encouraging for some time.
The continued rebuilding of the 3M cod and 3LN redfish stocks is a clear indication that the organization’s efforts are paying off.
Contracting members agreed to take targeted actions to strengthen certain catch reporting provisions, particularly to improve the level of detail and precision of catch verification data for monitoring and compliance purposes, as well to improve the information systematically provided to the Scientific Council in order to support scientific advice.
At the same time, an external peer-review working group continues to look into the methodology used by the NAFO Scientific Council to estimate catches.
Building on the unprecedented, conservation-driven fishing area closures adopted in 2009, contracting members agreed to adopt a range of complementary measures that will enhance the effectiveness of existing closures and further support the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems.
They also committed to discussing the possible closure of three new areas at a future meeting.
In addition, contracting parties adopted a focused and achievable action plan to begin implementing recommendations of the independent performance review panel report tabled in 2011, which will strengthen the organization.
In recognition of the need for continued fiscal restraint, and as the single largest contributor to NAFO, Canada pushed for and achieved capping the budget increase to one per cent increase, contrary to requests from some contracting parties to increase the budget by as much as four to six per cent.
At the annual meeting, Canada also urged all contracting parties of NAFO who have not done so to ratify the amended convention as soon as possible. Canada already did in 2009.
This convention will further strengthen the organization’s effectiveness and help to address several of the issues raised in the course of the independent performance review.
Currently NAFO has 12 Members from North America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. Among them are four coastal states bordering the Convention Area: U.S., Canada, France (in respect of St. Pierre et Miquelon), and Denmark (in respect of Faroe Islands and Greenland).