At the 45th Annual Meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) in Vigo, Spain, on 18-22 September 2023, member countries including the EU followed scientific advice from the International Council on the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) for setting the 2024 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of several important species.
Four species in particular are of economic importance to European harvesters. Greenland halibut stocks remain stable and sustainable in experts’ eyes, and the 2024 TAC is almost unchanged from its 2023 level. Atlantic cod on the Flemish Cap (about 600km east of Newfoundland) appears strong with room to grow, and its TAC was increased, subject to provisions for temporary spatial closures of the fishery. The TAC for redfish was also kept steady. Northern shrimp stocks in the Flemish Cap and the Grand Bank, however, remain troubled, and those fisheries remain closed for another year.
For many decades, NAFO has effectively managed the fisheries under its broad jurisdiction, except salmon, tunas/marlins, and sedentary species (e.g. shellfish). In addition to catch limits, NAFO members have also agreed on control and enforcement measures, so as to further strengthen the control framework of the NAFO observer scheme.