ICNAF Documents and Publications

Link here to access the numerous ICNAF documents and publications.

ICNAF Docs. & Pubs.


First Meeting of ICNAF in 1951

International Commission for the
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (ICNAF)


The International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic (ICNAF) was among the first regional fisheries management body to be established in the world ( and was considered to have played a leading role in the assessment and management of fish stocks outside of national jurisdictions.

Despite ICNAF’s lead role and innovations in the formulation of fishery management techniques, an overwhelming expansion of long distance fleets in the 1950s and 1960s had a profound and lasting effect on the fishery resources in the northwest Atlantic. An extensive learning curve in understanding status and effects of exploitation on the fish populations, and limits on controls that could be imposed in international waters, diminished the effectiveness of ICNAF.

See below for more information on ICNAF in the drop down menus. A reference list is available as well.

A pdf is available here (952 kb)

History of ICNAF

History of Northwest Atlantic Fisheries - ICNAF years



Anderson, E. D. 1998. The History of Fisheries Management and Scientific Advice – the ICNAF/NAFO History from the End of World War II to the Present. J. Northw. Atl. Fish. Sci., Vol. 23: 75–94 (

Anon 1962. Report on the International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (ICNAF). Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Second Session UNESCO Paris 20-29 Sepember 1962. NS/IOC/Inf 27.

Anon. 1971. Canada–U.S. notes on quota allocation procedures. ICNAF Comm. Doc., No. 18, 11 p.

Beaudouin, J., E. Bratberg, J.H. Fraser, E.H. Grainger, I. Hallgrimsson, A. Kotthaus, E. Smidt, E.A. Pavshtiks, J.B.L Matthews, L.T. Jones - 1963. 1968. International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries, Special Publication No. 7. Environmental Surveys – NORWESTLANT 1-3, 1963, PART 1. TEXT (and figures) Issued from the Headquarters of the Commission, Dartmouth, NS, Canada. ( [9MB])

Beverton. R. J. H. and Holt, S. J. 1957. On the Dynamic of Exploited Fish Populations Fisheries Investigations, Series 2. Lowestoft (UK): Ministry of Agriculture. Fisheries and Food.

Blake, R. 1997. The International Fishery of Canada's East Coast in the 20th Century In J F. Condow &, C. Corbn (eds,). How Deep is the Ocean? (pp, 207 222), Sydney University College of Cape Breton Press.

Candow, J. E. and C. Corbin 1997. How deep is the ocean? Historical essays on Canada’s Atlantic Fishery.

Cushing, D. H. 1977. The Atlantic fisheries commissions. Marine Policy, 1(3), 230-238.

FAO 1960. Proceedings of the joint scientific meeting of ICNAF, ICES, and FAO on fishing effort, the effect of fishing on resources and the selectivity of fishing gear. Vol. 1 – Reports. ICNAF Spec. Publ., 2: 45 p. ( [3 MB])

Found, W. A. 1933. North American Council on Fishery Investigations. Third annual report of the Department of Fisheries for the year 1932-33. Ottawa, p. 25-27.

Galtsoff, P. S. 1962. The story of the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. U.S. Bur. Comm. Fish. Circ., 145: 119 p.

Gezelius, S. S. and J. Raakjær 2008. Making Fisheries Management Work: Implementation of Policies for Sustainable  Fishing. Springer.

Grosslein, M. D. 1969. Groundfish survey program at BCF Woods Hole. Comm. Fish. Rev., 31(8–9): 22–35.

Gulland, J. A. and W. Templeman 1965. Review of possible conservation actions for the ICNAF area. Annual Proceedings (ICNAF) 15, 47-56 Dartmouth. (

Gulland. J, A 1984. Control of the amount of fishing by catch limits. In FAO Fisheries Report No. 289 Supplement 2 Rome FAO.

Gulland, J. A. and L. K. Boerema. 1973. Scientific advice on catch levels. US Fish. Bull., 71: 325–335.

Halliday, R. G. and P. A. Koeller. 1981. A history of Canadian groundfish trawling surveys and data usage in ICNAF Divisions 4TVWX. p. 27–41. In: Bottom trawl surveys. W.G. Doubleday and D. Rivard (eds.). Can. Spec. Publ. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 58, 273 p.

Halliday, R. G. and A. T. Pinhorn. 1985. Present management strategies in Canadian Atlantic marine fisheries. Their rationale and the historical context in which their usage developed. In: Towards the inclusion of fishery interactions in management advice. R. Mahon (ed.). Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 1347: 10–33.

Halliday, R. G. and A. T. Pinhorn 1990. The delimitation of fishing areas in the Northwest Atlantic. J. Northw. Atl. Fish. Sci., 10: 1–51. (

Halliday, R. G. and A. T. Pinhorn 1996. North Atlantic fishery management systems: a comparison of management methods and resource trends. J. Northw. Atl. Fish. Sci., 20: 1–135. (

Hennemuth, R. C. and S. Rockwell. 1987. History of fisheries conservation and management. p. 431–446. In: Georges Bank. R.H. Backus and D.W. Bourne (eds.). The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 593 p. ICES. 1987. Reports of the ICES Advisory Committee on Fishery Management, 1986. ICES Coop. Res. Rept., 146, 388 p.

Hodder, V. M. 1980. Index and list of titles of ICNAF publications, 1951-79.

Horsted, 2000. Cod fisheries at Greenland, 1910-1995. J. Northw. Atl. Fish. Sci. Vol. 28. (

ICNAF. 1951. Report of the First Annual Meeting. ICNAF Ann. Rept., 1: 53 p. (

ICNAF 1952-1978 Annual Meeting Reports (selected).

Innis, H. A. 1978. The cod fisheries – the history of an international economy. Revised edition. Univ. of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ont., 522 p.

Lear. W. H. 1998. History of Fisheries in the Northwest Atlantic: The 500-Year Perspective.  J. Northw. Atl. Fish. Sci., Vol. 23: 41-73. (

Mälkki, P. 2012. Half a century of decadal symposia by NAFO and ICES. ICES J. Marine Science. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fss078.

O’Boyle, R. N. 1985. A description of the two-tier catch quota system of ICNAF, with commentary on its potential usefulness in current fisheries management on the Scotian Shelf. In: Toward the inclusion of fisheries interactions in management advice. R. Mahon (ed.). Can. Tech. Rep. Fish Aquat. Sci., 1347: 196–200.

Parrish, B. B., S. A. Horsted 1980 ICES/ICNAF joint investigation on North Atlantic salmon. International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries. Rapports et Proces-Verbaux des Reunions - International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), no. 176.

Parsons, L. S. 1993. Management of marine fisheries in Canada. Can. Bull. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 225: 1–763.

Royce, W. F. 1988. Centennial Lecture IV: The historical development of fishery science and management. In: The Woods Hole Laboratory, 1885–1985: a century of service. R.B. Theroux (ed.). Mar. Fish. Rev., 50(4): 30–39.

Rozwadowski H. M. 2002. The sea knows no boundaries: a century of marine science under ICES. Copenhagen. Univ. Washington Press.

Schaefer. M. B. 1957. Some Considerations of Population Dynamics and Economies in Relation to the Management of the Commercial Marine Fisheries. Journal of the Fishery Research Board of Canada. 14(5). 669 681.

Sen, S. 1997. The evolution of high-sea fisheries management in the north-east Atlantic Oceans & Coastal management. 35(2-3). 85-100.

Serchuk, F. M. and S. E. Wigley 1993. Assessment and Management of the Georges Bank Cod Fishery: An Historical Review and Evaluation. NAFO Sci. Coun. Studies, 18: 33–34. (

Trippel, E. 2011 The first marine biological station in Canada: 100 years of scientific research at St. Andrews. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 1999, 56(12): 2495-2507, 10.1139/f99-190.

WGBEAC (Working Group on Joint Biological and Economic Assessment of Conservation Actions) 1967. Report of the Working Group on Joint Biological and Economic Assessment of Conservation Actions. Annual Proceedings (ICNAF) 17:48-91. (

Relevant Web Links






Categories: History, ICNAF

Contact us

Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
2 Morris Drive, Suite 100
(Burnside Industrial Park)
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Canada B3B 1K8

Tel: +1 902 468-5590
Fax: +1 902 468-5538