The Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries, signed on 24 October 1978 in Ottawa, came into force on 1 January 1979 following the deposit with the Government of Canada the instruments of ratification, acceptance and approval by seven signatories: Canada, Cuba, the European Economic Community (EEC), German Democratic Republic (GDR), Iceland, Norway, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). This Convention, establishing the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), replaced the 1949 International Convention for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries and the International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (ICNAF). The prime objective of NAFO has been to contribute through consultation and cooperation to the optimum utilization, rational management and conservation of the fishery resources of the Convention Area. NAFO promotes contemporary ideas for international collaboration in the high seas based on the scientific research fundamentals.
On 28 September 2007, after a two-year process, NAFO adopted a document entitled "Amendment to the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries", constituting the first formal step towards a reformed Convention for NAFO. In 2008 the French version of the NAFO Convention was adopted paving the way for the ratification process. The adopted text now has to be ratified by at least three-fourths of the NAFO Contracting Parties to become legally binding. The complete process is described in Article XXI of the current NAFO Convention.
To-date, nine Contracting Parties have approved the amendments to the Convention, namely Canada, Cuba, Denmark (in respect of Faroe Islands and Greenland), European Union, France (in respect of St. Pierre et Miquelon), Iceland, Norway, Russian Federation and the USA.
As we have now attained approval by three-fourths of all Contracting Parties, the amendments to the Convention is expected to come into force later this year barring no objections from a NAFO Contracting Party.
The constituent bodies of NAFO are: the General Council, Scientific Council, Fisheries Commission, and the Secretariat, which specific functions are set out in the Convention, Rules of Procedure, and the Staff Rules.
The number of Contracting Parties has varied over time. See the table below to view current and former Contracting Parties.
During 1979-96 the Convention was amended three times by modifications of its Annex III - Scientific and Statistical Subareas, Divisions and Subdivisions, which boundaries between Subareas 0-1, 4-5 and 3 of the Convention Area were changed on 1 January 1980, on 9 October 1987, and 13 September 1996, respectively.
Amended Convention Rules of Procedure & Financial Regulations