Convention on future multilateral cooperation in North-East Atlantic fisheries (NEAFC)
Type of Agreement
Place of Signature
Date of Signature
Date of Entry Into Force
Objective of Agreement
The NEAFC’s principal objective is to “promote the conservation and optimum utilisation of the fishery resources of the North-East Atlantic area within a framework appropriate to the regime of extended coastal state jurisdiction over fisheries, and accordingly to encourage international cooperation and consultation with respect to these resources”. Also, to promote the exchange of scientific information and data on the state of the fishery resources in the area and on management policies.
International organisation established by the treaty
North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission
The Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the North-East Atlantic Fisheries, which entered into force on 17 March 1982, replaced the original North-East Atlantic Fisheries Convention of 1959, which in turn had replaced the 1946 Convention for the Regulation of Meshes and Fishing Nets and the Size Limits of Fish.
The earliest convention can be traced back to the 1930s, when several conferences were held to address the issue of the rational exploitation of fish resources in the North-East Atlantic.
The North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) was set up under the framework of the Convention.
However, the modern rebirth of NEAFC is as a result of the withdrawal of the Community Member States as individual members of the 1963 organisation and the general extension in 1977 of fishery limits to 200 miles. NEAFC is the competent organisation for recommending management measures to contracting parties concerning fisheries beyond the areas under fisheries jurisdiction of the contracting parties and also, if the relevant contracting parties request it, for areas under the fisheries jurisdiction of the contracting parties.
Within NEAFC, there are two schemes currently operating with regard to control, namely the Scheme of Control and Enforcement (an electronic surveillance scheme to control the fishing activities of vessels in the Regulatory Area - outside the fishing zones of the coastal States) and the non-contracting party Scheme to address the problem of non-contracting party fishing activity in the NEAFC Regulatory Area.
NEAFC has also established a number of working groups in order to help the organisation carry out its work. These include the Working Group on the Future of NEAFC, which examines a broad range of issues.
NEAFC works closely with its sister organisations in the North Atlantic Ocean (NAFO - Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation) and the Baltic Sea (IBSFC - International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission), as well as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).
NEAFC was updated in 2004 (adding dispute settlement procedures) and 2006 (bringing the Convention in line with developments in international law and instruments since the 1980 convention was negotiated). The Parties have agreed to use these as basis for measures on a voluntary basis, until the amendments are not ratified by all Parties.
European Economic Community, Faeroes, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia
Regional and International Organisation (REIO)
Date of Signature
Council Decision of 13 July 1981 concerning the conclusion of the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the North-East Atlantic Fisheries; OJ L227 of 12/08/1981, p.21