Kaliningrad, Russian Federation – June 3 to 6, 2009
Representatives of the countries of the North Atlantic discussed the main principles and other criteria underlying the distribution of quotas allocated in the framework of regional fisheries management organisations and other multilateral bilateral arrangements.
Mr Andrey Krayniy, Head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries of the Russian Federation, hosted the 14th North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers Conference held in Kaliningrad, Russian Federation from June 3 to 6, 2009. Fisheries Ministers or their Representatives from Canada, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation, attended the Conference as well as a Representative of the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
They agreed on the following:
- The commitment of nations to cooperate in conservation and harvesting of living marine resources is essential for the sustainability of the fish stocks. The need to respect the viewpoints of different nations, the accession of new participants to regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs), the start of new fisheries, the reopening of closed fisheries, as well as the need to adjust fishing capacity to the state of the stocks, in order to clarify the principles within the RFMOs and criteria of allocating total allowable catches (TACs) of marine stocks, was recognised.
- There are three fundamental issues to be decided upon in the management and conservation of resources. The first and most controversial issue is the establishment of the TAC and its subsequent allocation. The second is the adoption of relevant management plans and technical regulations. The third issue to be addressed is control and enforcement.
- The UN Law of the Sea Convention and the UN Fish Stocks Agreement form the main legal basis for the management of fisheries. Despite the variety of the RFMOs, there are a number of basic common criteria used in the TAC allocation. These include historical catch, stock state and zonal attachment, current state of the fishery and national features characterising the fishery, contribution to scientific research on the stock, the interests of the Parties, contribution of a Coastal State to stock conservation, real dependency of a Coastal State on the fisheries, and share for non-Contracting Parties.
- The importance of improving the scientific basis for determining the allocation of quotas between Parties was recognised, as was the need to exercise a precautionary approach to managing their fisheries pending the negotiation of allocation decisions in order to avoid unsustainable fisheries.
Ministers and their Representatives also agreed that:
- Fundamentally, new criteria are not likely to be developed. Ideally, one of the ways to improve the current allocation schemes could be through the development of approaches providing not only qualitative, but also a definition of the relative weight to be applied to the key criteria.
- Even within one RFMO, it is difficult to develop a uniform, universal allocation scheme, as the importance of each criterion and their combination should take account not only of the specific features of each managed stock, but also of the interests of all States harvesting that stock.
- In order to provide for the sustainability of the fisheries and to strengthen North Atlantic stocks continued efforts must be made to ensure that the quota allocation schemes guarantee long-term stability.
- It is necessary to work constructively in order to reach agreement on currently unallocated stocks in the North Atlantic.
It was noted that, concerning IUU fishing activity, a more extensive cooperation and exchange of information should be established. In this context the exchange on a bi- and multilateral basis of vessel tracking data and any other information on fishing vessel activities could be extended and improved to what is currently the case. It was therefore recommended that this issue be addressed to find suitable solutions.
On the eve of the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen in December 2009, Participants were informed about recent climatic developments in the Arctic, which risk dramatically affecting the future management of marine resources in the High North. Various options for future action were explored.
Some Representatives expressed concerns about the economic and social impact of the recent EU Regulation concerning trade in seal products. They reserved their right to pursue this issue in the appropriate bodies. The Representative of the European Commission gave some additional information on the contents of the regulation.
The 15th North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers Conference will be held in Canada during 2010.
International delegates to the 2009 North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers Conference (NAFMC), Kaliningrad, Russian Federation.
The Honourable Randy Kamp, Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Oceans, addressing attendees at NAFMC 2009.