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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


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