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Fisheries: Commission welcomes NAFO agreement on conservation measures

Commission Européenne - IP/09/1363   25/09/2009

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IP/09/1363

Brussels, 25 September 2009

Fisheries: Commission welcomes NAFO agreement on conservation measures

The Commission is broadly satisfied with the progress achieved in the annual meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation, which took place in Bergen, Norway, from 21 to 25 September 2009.

After lengthy negotiations, a deal was reached in relation to conservation measures for several stocks, including cod, redfish, shrimp, Greenland halibut, white hake and skates. On the whole the deal is judged by the Commission as a reasonable and balanced outcome following international cooperation, especially considering the initially wide divergence of positions of the Contracting Parties.

The case of Greenland halibut, however, deserves a word of caution. As scientific advice on the state of this stock still contains uncertainties, the precautionary approach would suggest reducing the TAC limits pending further analysis. The Commission would have preferred a decision in this sense. Instead, a majority of the Contracting Parties insisted on a roll-over of the TAC of 2009, which could be accepted as a compromise since it will be accompanied by additional risk management tools and Management Strategy Evaluation measures.

The Parties also confirmed their commitment towards the protection of sponges, corals and vulnerable marine ecosystems by deciding on a series of interim conservation measures. They also adopted a report on the implementation of the new Port State Control Measures.

The North-West Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) was established in 1979, with the objective of contributing to the optimum utilisation, rational management and conservation of the fishery resources within the Convention Area.  Its current Contracting Parties are Canada, Cuba, Denmark (in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland), the European Union (EU), France (in respect of St. Pierre et Miquelon), Iceland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Norway, Russia, Ukraine and the United States of America (USA).


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