Outcome of the 2022 annual meeting of the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission
The annual meeting of the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) took place between 15-18 November in London, with parties agreeing a number of proposals which aim to ensure the conservation and optimum utilisation of fishery resources in the NEAFC Regulatory Area.
The meeting was attended by all six Contracting Parties to the NEAFC Convention: United Kingdom, Denmark (in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland), European Union, Iceland, Norway and including Russian Federation.
Scottish Government officials worked closely with the UK Government and remained aligned with wider Foreign, Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) principles on attending the meetings with Russian Federation officials. The aim was to ensure the Russian Federation saw no additional benefits from any outcomes agreed, including not supporting any proposals tabled by the Russian Federation. The Scottish Government supported the UK in making strong statements condemning the invasion of Ukraine, with similar statements made by the other Contracting Parties.
Key outcomes of the annual meeting included a rollover of the existing closure of the Rockall haddock box, a measure which protects juvenile haddock in the area. This closure has been in place for a number of years, and the UK worked together with the EU to table this measure, which was agreed by consensus.
Measures were also adopted for Atlanto-Scandian herring (ASH) and blue whiting in the NEAFC Regulatory Area (international waters) in 2023. These measures reflect the outcomes of Coastal State consultations and prevent countries who are not Contracting Parties (Coastal States or fishing parties) from fishing these stocks. A measure for mackerel will be tabled via correspondence once an Agreed Record has been signed by the Coastal States.
In addition, six new deep sea chimaeras species were added to the NEAFC Scheme of Control and Enforcement, as well as a new measure for Irminger Sea redfish, to strengthen the current zero total allowable catch in place for the stock. A number of additions were also made to the list of stocks for which discarding is prohibited in international waters.
Parties also agreed to adopt a number of control and enforcement measures in the Regulatory Area including improvement of the monitoring and control of transhipment, clarification for requirements of research vessels and strengthening the rules for timing of authorisation to land. In addition, Cooperating Non-Contracting Party (CNCP) status was renewed for 2023 for Canada, the Bahamas, and Panama.
Measures currently in place at NEAFC can be viewed on the NEAFC website.