GLOBAL - The European Commission has welcomed the decisions during the 37th annual meeting of the North Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO), 21-25 September 2015, Halifax, Canada, which contain a strong commitment of its Contracting Parties to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems, by adopting Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for a number of stocks taking due account of scientific advice and by taking further measures to improve the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems.
NAFO has also decided to continue working towards the improvement of the data base for stock assessments, the development and review of risk based management strategies, and the implementation of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.
In regard to control and compliance, NAFO adopted measures based on EU proposals that will favour transparency in fishing activities.
Important progress has also been achieved as regards the information exchange between Canadian authorities and the NAFO Secretariat to ensure smooth co-existence between hydrocarbon and fishing activities, notably in view of the increasing oil and gas exploratory activities in the NAFO Regulatory Area.
However, despite overwhelming support by many Contracting Parties there was no progress in the attempt to align NAFO port inspection rules with the FAO Port State Measures Agreement, a crucial tool in fighting IUU fishing.
The EU has also presented a proposal to update the existing shark management rules in line with the EU ban on shark finning. Whereas only few sharks are caught in the NAFO area, the EU continuously supports initiatives across Regional Fisheries Management Organisations to end this practice worldwide.
The proposal was supported by many delegations, including the US; however NAFO did not manage to adopt the fins-naturally-attached policy this year.
The 38th NAFO Annual Meeting will be held in Varadero, Cuba, from 19 –23 September 2016.
TheFishSite News Desk