International agreements such as the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA) and the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries call for the rebuilding of depleted stocks through application of the precautionary approach.
Several stocks under NAFO's purview have been under long term moratoria and NAFO would like to see continued recovering and growth of these stocks to ensure their long term sustainability and to promote associated economic opportunities
Many Contracting Parties have domestic legislation or policies which require the identification of limit reference points and recovery targets and in 2007 NAFO had adopted a Conservation Plan and Rebuilding Strategy for 3NO Cod that identified a limit reference point of 60,000t (FC Doc. 07/8).
In 2010 a Working Group of fishery Managers and Scientists on Conservation Plans and Rebuilding Strategies (WGFMS-CPRS) was established (FC Doc. 10/11). The objective of the WG was to review the interim 3LNO American plaice (FC Doc. 11/21) and the existing 3NO Cod (FC Doc. 07/8) Conservation Plans and Rebuilding Strategies. Specific plans for each stock are laid out in the NAFO Conservation and Enforcement Measures.
In 2012 it was agreed that CPRS for these stock would continue to be developed, as well as the efforts be made for other stocks including 3NO Witch flounder and initial development for 3LN Redfish, 3M Cod and 3L Northern shrimp.
During 2013 Terms of Reference for a Joint Fisheries Commission-Scientific Council Working Group on Risk-based Management Strategies were developed (FC Doc. 13-18). This group would also incorporate work for the GHL Management Strategy Evaluation. The group will consider enhancing the application of risk-based assessment approaches when evaluating management strategies as well as broader use of the Precautionary Approach framework.
In responding to requests for advice and recommendations from the Fisheries Commission, considering the associated advice of Scientific Council, the Working Group shall:
Review, update and further develop a general framework including management objectives and performance statistics for the elaboration of management strategies, conservation plans and rebuilding strategies for all NAFO managed stocks.
Evaluate, and as appropriate update and develop new ones where none exist, all management strategies, conservation plans and rebuilding strategies implemented in NAFO with respect to the Precautionary Approach framework, management objectives and performance statistics.
Develop alternative strategies for stocks that may not be suited to formulaic rules and/or for stocks where reference points do not exist or cannot be developed.
Consider all matters related to use of the NAFO Precautionary Approach framework.
Consider risk management approaches in the review, update and future development of Conservation Plans and Rebuilding Strategies.