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International Cooperation

ABNJ Deep Seas Project: Bottom Fisheries in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction

NAFO has been a committed partner to the ABNJ Deep-Seas Project and has contributed significantly to the initiative by sharing knowledge and experience over the course of the Project. The FAO and UNEP-led ABNJ Deep-Seas Project has during its five years contributed to improve deep-seas fisheries management and biodiversity conservation by developing tools for the application of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management and to protect the unique deep-sea habitats and species.

Recent developments:

Fishing with bottom-contact gear in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) occurs on continental shelves, slopes or isolated oceanic topographic structures such as seamounts, ridge systems and banks. FAO estimates that the total global catch in 2014 caught by bottom-contact fishing gear in ABNJ was around 150 000 tonnes (excluding the Mediterranean), comprising of about 50 species in reported catches, and involved less than 11 flag States. Flag States, regional fisheries management organizations or arrangements (RFMO/As) and other multi-lateral bodies with a fisheries management mandate are managing these bottom fisheries in the ABNJ. Currently, there are eight of these bodies, three of which were created in the last five years.

For more information about ABNJ, see

The Fisheries Resources Monitoring System (FIRMS) is a partnership of intergovernmental fisheries organizations that share a wide range of high-quality information on the global monitoring and management of marine fishery resources. FIRMS aims to provide decision-makers with the best and most authoritative informatioN possible in order to develop effective fisheries policies in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

Download the FIRMS brochure for more information

FIRMS website

Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts

All of NAFO’s publications and documents are indexed in the ASFA Database, which provides the most comprehensive information to a global audience for abstracting and indexing services in the aquatic and fisheries field. ASFA’s ability to provide deep indexing, links to full text and the indexing of ‘grey literature’, ensures documents, publications and general information pertaining to aquatic sciences and fisheries is available to a wide audience. 

Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA) is an International Cooperative Information System which comprises an abstracting and indexing service covering the world's literature on the science, technology, management, and conservation of marine, brackish water, and freshwater resources and environments, including their socio-economic and legal aspects.

For more information about ASFA, visit
OpenASFA database NOW LIVE!

NAFO PotEntial VulneRable Marine Ecosystems-Impacts
of Deep-sea Fisheries

The NERIEDA expedition was a multidisciplinary research of the sensitive habitats and fishing activities as well as analysis of the fishing resources for the study and protection of the vulnerable ecosystems.

The surveys took place in 2009 and 2010.

Download more information here: 

Project Information

Surveys and Sampling Tools

Sediment Samples give insight into historical distribution of sponges in the NRA

Benthic Surveys using Underwater Cameras

Contact us

Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
Summit Place
1601 Lower Water Street 
Suite 401
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada B3J 3P6

Tel: +1 902 468-5590