The EU is one of five Contracting Parties to the organisation, the others being Denmark in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation.
A number of measures were agreed for 2013, covering redfish in the Norwegian and Barents Seas, the protection of deep-sea sharks, as well as closures to protect haddock at Rockall. More coherent scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has been given in 2012 in respect of deep-sea species, necessitating further work by NEAFC in 2013. The EU was particularly disappointed at the establishment of a measure allowing for the continuation of an unsustainable fishery on one of these species, namely orange roughy.
Further work will be carried out in early 2013 on the establishment of new bottom fishing regulations for NEAFC designed to protect Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs). In the meantime, threshold levels for cold water corals and sponges have been reduced in line with NAFO measures. Furthermore, a number of extensions have been agreed to the existing closure areas for VMEs at Rockall and Hatton Bank.
Following an EU proposal, it was agreed that a Performance Review of NEAFC by independent experts would be carried out during 2013.
The European Commission welcomes the progress made at this year's Annual Meeting but notes that there is still work to be done on reaching agreement on a number of associated Coastal State stocks. It also welcomes the fact that the proposed Performance Review would examine the consequences of the exclusion of the Coastal State process from the NEAFC context.