Satellite image of the Northwest Atlantic.
(Earth Observatory, NASA)

Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization

NAFO is an intergovernmental fisheries science and management body. NAFO was founded in 1979 as a successor to ICNAF (International Commission of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries) (1949-1978). NAFO's overall objective is to contribute through consultation and cooperation to the optimum utilization, rational management and conservation of the fishery resources of the NAFO Convention Area.

The NAFO Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries applies to most fishery resources of the Northwest Atlantic except salmon, tunas/marlins, whales, and sedentary species (e.g. shellfish). Currently NAFO has 12 Members from North America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. Among them are four coastal states bordering the Convention Area: USA, Canada, France (in respect of St. Pierre et Miquelon), and Denmark (in respect of Faroe Islands and Greenland).

NAFO has the following structure:

Fisheries Commission is responsible for the management and conservation of the fishery resources of the Regulatory Area (waters outside the EEZs). It annually decides on the NAFO fisheries regulations, TACs and quotas (NAFO Conservation and Enforcement Measures).

Scientific Council gives advice upon request on the status of fish stocks in the NAFO Convention Area to Fisheries Commission and Coastal States. Scientific Council publishes the NAFO Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science.

General Council is responsible for internal affairs and external relations. The GC Chair also serves as the President of NAFO.

The NAFO Secretariat (NAFO headquarters) is located in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada