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The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) is a regional fisheries management organization established in 1979 for the conservation and management of fisheries in the Northwest Atlantic. NAFO was founded in 1979 as a successor to ICNAF (International Commission of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries) (1949-1978). ICNAF was among the first regional fisheries management bodies to be established in the world. Sedentary species and species managed under other international treaties are excluded (i.e. tuna and whales). NAFO currently has 12 species under management.

Mandate According to the amended NAFO Convention, the Convention on Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries, NAFO’s objective is “to 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.” In Article III of the Convention, General Principles, Contracting Parties individually or collectively, as appropriate, shall:(a) promote the optimum utilization and long-term sustainability of fishery resources;(b) adopt measures based on the best scientific advice available to ensure that fishery resources are maintained at or restored to levels capable of producing maximum sustainable yield;(c) apply the precautionary approach in accordance with Article 6 of the 1995 Agreement;(d) take due account of the impact of fishing activities on other species and marine ecosystems and in doing so, adopt measures to minimize harmful impact on living resources and marine ecosystems;(e) take due account of the need to preserve marine biological diversity;(f) prevent or eliminate overfishing and excess fishing capacity, and ensure that levels of fishing effort do not exceed those commensurate with the sustainable use of the fishery resources;(g) ensure that complete and accurate data concerning fishing activities within the Convention Area are collected and shared among them in a timely manner;(h) ensure effective compliance with management measures and that sanctions for any infringements are adequate in severity; and(i) take due account of the need to minimize pollution and waste originating from fishing vessels as well as minimize discards, catch by lost or abandoned gear, catch of species not subject to a directed fishery and impacts on associated or dependent species, in particularendangered species. History

NAFO was established by the “Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries”, signed on 24/10/1978 and entered into force on 01/01/1979, which was a successor to the International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (ICNAF, 1949-1979). NAFO was the response to the new jurisdictional realities that some Members to ICNAF needed, in view of incorporating an area of competence outside 200 mile EEZ through a new convention. NAFO was created as an international, intergovernmental, fisheries science and management body.

NAFO’s Convention was amended in 2007 and the amendments came into force 18 May 2017. These amendments to the Convention modernize NAFO, particularly by incorporating an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. This approach includes safeguarding the marine environment, conserving marine biodiversity and minimizing the risk of long-term adverse effects of fishing activities on the marine ecosystem. The amendments also streamline NAFO’s decision-making process, strengthen the obligations of Contracting Parties, Flag States and Port States, and institute a formal dispute settlement mechanism.

Legal framework Area of competenceThe waters of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, north of 35°00' north latitude and west of a line extending due north from 35°00' north latitude and 42°00' west longitude to 59°00' north latitude, thence due west to 44°00' west longitude, and thence due north to the coast of Greenland, and the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Davis Strait and Baffin Bay south of 78°10' north latitude. Within this area, NAFO may only regulate fishing activity beyond Coastal States’ EEZs.
NAFO area of competence - High seas, National waters
The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries. Dashed lines on maps represent approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement.
Species and stocks coverageAll marine fisheries resources, except salmon, tunas, marlins, whales and sedentary species (e.g. shellfish and lobsters). Members

Contracting Parties: Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Greenland, European Union, France, Iceland, Japan, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Ukraine, United States of America.
Observers: NAFO allows accredited observers to both NAFO Commission and Scientific Council meetings, and cooperates with various international groups and initiatives.
* Denmark (in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland).
** France (in respect of St. Pierre and Miquelon).

  • The Commission: is a constituent body of NAFO as laid out in Article VI of the NAFO Convention. The Commission is responsible for the fisheries management, control and enforcement, and financial decisions of NAFO. The Commission may refer to the Scientific Council any question pertaining to the scientific basis for the decisions it may need to take concerning fishery resources, the impact of fishing activities on living resources, and the safeguarding of the ecosystem in which these resources are found.

  • The Scientific Council (SC): is a constituent body of NAFO as laid out in the NAFO Convention. The Scientific Council compiles and maintains statistics and records, and publishes information pertaining to the fisheries including environmental and ecological factors. Upon request, Scientific Council also provides advice for the Commission and coastal States on stocks and the conservation and management of fishery resources.

  • The Secretariat: provides administrative services to the Organization. Its chief administrative officer is the Executive Secretary who is appointed by the Commission.
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Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO)

Fred Kingston (Executive Secretary)

Summit Place

1601 Lower Water Street Suite 401, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 3P6

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: +1 902 468-5590

Web site: https://www.nafo.int

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