MissionObjectivesThe Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) is an intergovernmental fisheries science and management body. The NAFO was founded in 1979 as a successor to ICNAF (International Commission of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries) (1949-1978). The NAFO's overall objective is to contribute through consultation and cooperation to the optimum utilization, rational management and conservation of the fishery resources of the Convention Area.
In the amended Convention adopted in 2007, still to be ratified, the objective had been revised as follows: "… ensure the long term conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources in the Convention Area and, in so doing, to safeguard the marine ecosystems in which these resources are found". FunctionsBased on scientific advice from the Scientific Council, the NAFO adopts a comprehensive range of management and conservation measures. In addition, it also has in place a strong scheme to monitor, survey and control the international fisheries, which is administered by the Standing Committee on International Control (STACTIC).
The NAFO's conservation and enforcement measures are updated annually by the Fisheries Commission. Some important regulations regarding the management, control and monitoring of NAFO's fishery resources are:
The NAFO is an active member of Coordinating Working Party of Fisheries Statistics (CWP), Fishery Resources Monitoring System (FIRMS/FIGIS), ASFA (Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts), International Fisheries Commissions Pension Society (IFCPS), North Atlantic Fishery Management Organizations (NARFMO) and Regional Secretariats Network.
In addition, the NAFO has a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). The cooperation with ICES is reflected in a joint shrimp stock assessment (NIPAG) and the shared working groups on "Harp and Hooded Seals", and on "Reproductive Potential". NAFO also works with NEAFC to manage the transboundary pelagic redfish stock in Subarea 2 and Div. 1F + 3K.
The NAFO also co-sponsors joint scientific symposia, most recently with the ICES for Marine Mammals and ICES and PICES for Reproductive and Recruitment Processes.
Representatives from the NAFO are nominated at the Annual Meeting to attend meetings of other RFMOs. At times, special invitations are extended to the NAFO to partake in special UN and UN-related events. Area of competenceThe international fisheries managed by the NAFO take place outside the 200-mile exclusive economic zone. This is called the NAFO Regulatory Area. The NAFO Convention Area, however, is not restricted to international waters; it also covers the 200-mile zones under national jurisdiction.
NAFO area of competence - High seas, National watersSpecies and stocks coverage
The designations employed and the presentation of material in the map(s) are for illustration only and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory or sea area, or concerning the delimitation of frontiers or boundaries.
The NAFO Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries applies to most fishery resources of the Northwest Atlantic except salmon, tunas/marlins, mammals as these are already under the responsibility of other intergovernmental regional fisheries management bodies. It also does not apply to sedentary species such as many shellfish over which coastal States exercise sovereign rights.
The information used by the NAFO scientists includes but is not limited to catch statistics from NAFO contracting parties as well as data gathered on commercial and research vessels and landing ports. Standing committees of the Scientific Council are STACFIS (fisheries science), STACPUB (publications), STACFEN (fisheries environment), and STACREC (research coordination).
The Scientific Council also organizes workshops and symposia that are open to the scientific public worldwide. The most prominent scientific publication of the NAFO is the Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science. SecretariatThe Secretariat provides administrative services to the Organization and is located in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. Its chief administrative officer is the executive secretary who is appointed by the General Council. Activities and meetingsNAFO activities take place under the direction of its three constituent bodies, General Council, Scientific Council, and Fisheries Commission, supported and coordinated by the Secretariat. The NAFO annual report summarizes the discussions and decisions. The meeting schedule is accessible on the NAFO Web site. Publications The NAFO regularly publishes the annual Meeting Proceedings of General Council and Fisheries Commission, and Scientific Council Reports. Other annual publications are the NAFO Conservation and Enforcement Measures, and the Annual Report.
The NAFO Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Science provides an international forum for the primary publication of original research papers, with emphasis on environmental, biological, ecological and fishery aspects of the living marine resources and ecosystems. In addition, The NAFO publishes Scientific Council Studies that contain review papers of topical interest and importance.