North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization

Purpose

The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization is an intergovernmental organization formed to promote the conservation, restoration, enhancement and rational management of salmon stocks in the North Atlantic Ocean.  It plays a leadership role amongst Regional Fisheries Management Organizations by providing guidelines and conducting research on the management of the Atlantic salmon.

Convention Area

The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization cooperates to ensure the sustained, long-term recovery of salmon stocks that migrate beyond the areas of coastal States’ fisheries jurisdiction of the Atlantic Ocean north of 36°N latitude. An image of the Convention area is available at the following link.

Contracting Parties

Parties to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization include Canada, Denmark (for the Faroe Islands and Greenland), the European Union, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States.  Thirty-three non-government organizations participate with observer status.

The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization has developed an organizational structure that balances the interests of States where salmon originate with those of States that fish the stocks along their migration route.

Achievements

  • The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization has been a leader amongst Regional Fisheries Management Organizations in its commitment to the precautionary approach, which requires stock management decisions to be risk-based.
  • In 2006, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization initiated the “Next Steps” process which called upon members to submit annual Implementation Plans and Focus Area Reports that described the actions taken by parties relative to various North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization agreements. Canada’s submission highlighted the management challenges across multiple ocean areas and jurisdictions.
  • The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization has promoted and facilitated international collaborations to address knowledge gaps in the marine ecology of Atlantic salmon through the Salmon at Sea program. For example, North-Atlantic wide investigations are underway regarding the possible causes of increased mortality of Atlantic salmon during their at sea phase.
  • The science surrounding salmon conservation has become a primary focus for the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization. The International Atlantic Salmon Research Board has established an inventory of on-going research in relation to mortality of salmon at sea.
    • Of note is a new comprehensive, innovative program of research, the Salmon At Sea program. The program studies freshwater, estuarine, coastal and offshore elements, ensuring a thorough overview of factors which may affect the mortality of Atlantic salmon. Uncovering the reasons wild Atlantic salmon are dying in great numbers at sea is perhaps the most important step the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization and its members can take for the management of the species. By better understanding this mortality the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization’s members hope to inform future management decisions that will assist in the recovery of the stock.

Canada's Leadership Role

  • Canada plays an important role in the Salmon At Sea Program. For more information, visit the page: Canada’s Contribution to the Salmon At Sea program and other Collaborative Atlantic Salmon Science Initiatives
  • Canada has played a leadership role in the implementation of management measures to ensure the long-term viability of Atlantic salmon and other important fish stocks.
  • Retention of large salmon in the recreational fishery in Labrador is no longer permitted. In addition, the number of salmon permitted to be retained as by-catch in the subsistence trout net fishery has been reduced by 25%, from four to three.   
  • A Working Group, comprised of Federal and Provincial officials, First Nations and non-governmental organizations, has recently developed an action plan to implement the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy. The policy reinforces the federal government’s commitment to conserving fish species like the wild Atlantic salmon in Canada’s coastal and inland waters.
  • The federal government provided significant funding of $30 million in 2005 through the Atlantic Salmon Endowment Fund to help achieve healthy and sustainable Atlantic salmon stocks.

Important Links