Press Release-1979

International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization

800 Windmill Road - P.O. Box 638 - Dartmouth - Nova Scotia - B2Y 3Y9. - Canada



1. Parties to International Fisheries Agreements covering the Northwest Atlantic Ocean concluded historic meetings in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 7 June 1979.

2. The International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (ICNAF), which has been in existence since 1951, held its final meeting. Termination of ICNAF was also the occasion for the first annual meeting of its replacement body, the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). The Organization has three, independent bodies, a General Council, a Scientific Council, and a Fisheries Commission, and will, it is expected, provide the forum for international cooperation in fisheries management in the Northwest Atlantic beginning 1 January 1980.

3. The following Parties attended as Members of ICNAF: Bulgaria, Canada, Cuba, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Iceland, Japan, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Parties attending as Members of NAFO were: Bulgaria, Canada, Cuba, the European Economic Community (EEC), Faroe Islands (Denmark), the GDR, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Romania, and the USSR. Observers were welcomed from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Commission for the Southeast Atlantic Fisheries (ICSEAF), the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), and the Government of the United States of America (USA).

4. Officers were elected for two-year terms as follows:

for NAFO: Dr A. W. May, Assistant Deputy Minister,
Atlantic Fisheries (Canada)
President of the organization and
Chairman of the General Council
Dr V. K. Zilanov (USSR) Vice-Chairman of the General Council
Mr R. H. Letaconnoux (EEC) Chairman of the Scientific Council
Dr R. G. Halliday (Canada) Vice-Chairman of the Scientific Council
Capt J. C. E. Cardoso (Portugal) Chairman of the Fisheries Commission
Mr J. Farnell (EEC) Vice-Chairman of the Fisheries Commission
for ICNAF: Mr S. Ohkuchi (Japan) Chairman of the Commission
Dr W. Ranke (GDR) Vice-Chairman of the Commission

Important institutional arrangements were agreed concerning the transition from ICNAF to NAFO.

5. As an item of major importance, the combined ICNAF/NAFO meetings considered management measures for 1980 for three stocks of cod, redfish, and American plaice which are entirely outside the Canadian 200-mile fishing zone in Division 3M (Flemish Cap), and seven stocks of cod, redfish, American plaice, yellowtail flounder, witch flounder, capelin, and squid (Illex species), which overlap the 200-mile fishing limit in Divisions 31, 3N, and 30 (stocks of the Grand Banks) (see Table 1). Mid-term meetings of the Scientific Council of NAFO will be required to review the scientific advice to be given to the Fisheries Commission of NAFO at a special meeting early in 1980 for further management decisions, if necessary.

6. Other decisions of NAFO and ICNAF included:

  1. adoption by the Fisheries Commission of NAFO of a minimum mesh size of 60 millimeters for trawl nets fishing for squid (Illex) outside the Canadian fishing limit;
  2. agreement in the General Council of NAFO on required changes in the boundary between Subareas 0 and 1 to be effective on 1 January 1980, as a result of the extension of fishing limits by Canada and the EEC in respect of Denmark (Greenland);
  3. agreement to initiate an international scientific observer scheme for vessels fishing outside the 200-mile fishing zone, in order to provide better scientific and statistical information on the fisheries;
  4. adoption by the Fisheries Commission of NAFO of procedures requiring vessels entering the Convention Area to have a record of previous catches of each species recorded in their fishing logs;
  5. agreement on actions to be taken by NAFO and ICNAF, in view of recent substatial fishing operations by vessels of non-Members of NAFO or ICNAF in the area outside the Canadian 200-mile fishing limit; and
  6. adoption of amendments to the Scheme of Joint International Enforcement by the Fisheries Commission of NAFO for application by NAFO.

7. The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization will hold its Annual Meeting in September 1980, in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

Office of the Secretariat of ICNAF and NAFO
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

19 June 1979


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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