On the most important stocks, the following measures were agreed:
NAFO also decided to continue on a path towards a more risk-based management: it updated the Conservation Plans and Rebuilding Strategies for American Plaice in Division 3 LNO and Cod in Division 3 NO, pursued further the establishment of such a plan for Witch Flounder in Division 3 NO, and initiated such plans for Cod in Division 3 M and for Redfish in Division 3 LN.
With regard to the protection of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems, NAFO introduced a new threshold of 7 kg which triggers move-on rules for sea pens. NAFO also lowered the thresholds for sponges to 300kg (currently 600kg in the fished areas and 400kg in new areas). Regrettably, the joint proposals from the EU and Canada for area closures to protect significant concentrations of sea pens and gorgonians were not adopted. The Scientific Council considers area closures the most effective measures to protect VMEs. However, NAFO will consider these closures again next year. NAFO also agreed to expand the mandate of the VME Working Group to a wider ecosystem approach.
NAFO adopted a comprehensive action plan to follow up on the recommendations of the Performance Review Panel. The first measures to implement this plan were adopted under the leadership of the European Union, in particular to make sure that best data and science are available to NAFO.
The 34th Annual Meeting of NAFO was held from 17 to 21 September in St Petersburg, Russia.