Management measures agreed at NEAFC meeting
The NEACF annual meeting closed with conservation and management measures agreed for blue whiting, herring, mackerel, Irminger Sea redfish and Rockall haddock.
NEAFCâ€™s work on improvements to the conservation and management of deep-sea species continues to progress. At last weekâ€™s annual meeting, NEAFC renewed its recommendation on deep-sea fisheries within the NEAFC Regulatory Area, but in addition agreed a recommendation to ensure fisheries for deep-sea stocks/species not subject to other conservation and management measures only to expand gradually to allow for information to develop to assess sustainability. Current measures include prohibiting fisheries directed at deep-sea sharks, rays, chimaeras and spurdog, in addition to catch limits being set for several species of grenadiers in two separate areas. Bans on fisheries targeting basking shark and porbeagle remain in effect.
The protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs), such as corals, continues to be an important issue for NEAFC. Bottom fisheries in all areas where VMEs are known to occur or are considered likely to occur according to scientific advice have already been closed.
During the meeting NEAFC received the latest ICES advice regarding the occurrence of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems in the Regulatory Area. In response to the advice, NEAFC has not only extended the current VME closures from the end of 2017 to the end of 2022, but also expanded the coverage of its areas closed to fishing in the Rockall-Hatton Bank. Furthermore it extended the period of the closed areas from the end of 2017 to the end of 2022.
Co-operation with other international organisations was highlighted at the meeting. This includes the collective arrangement with the OSPAR Commission for the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic. The Annual Meeting welcomed the continuing co-operation and co-ordination between the two organisations, as well as the intention to include others that have international legal competence regarding other activities.
NEAFC contracting Parties are Denmark (in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland), the European Union, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation. The co-operating non-contracting party status of the Bahamas, Canada, Liberia, New Zealand and St Kitts and Nevis was renewed for the year 2018. These States co-operate with NEAFC and, in some cases, deploy vessels for transhipment operations in the NEAFC Regulatory Area.
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