Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Northwest Atlantic NAFO Grand Bank groundfish fisheries
Fishery  Fact Sheet
Conservation and Enforcement Measures 2013
Northwest Atlantic NAFO Grand Bank groundfish fisheries
Fact Sheet Citation  
Owned byNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – more>>

Overview: The fisheries occurs mainly in the “nose” (Div. 3L) and “tail” (Div. 3NO) of the Grand Banks, on waters beyond the Canadian EEZ.

Location of Northwest Atlantic NAFO Grand Bank groundfish fisheries

Geographic reference:  Northwest Atlantic
Spatial Scale: Regional
Reference year: 2013
Approach: Fishery Management Unit

Jurisdictional framework
Management Body/Authority(ies): Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO)
Mandate: Scientific Advice; Management;

Area of Competence: NAFO area of competence
Maritime Area: High seas

Harvested Resource
Target Species: Atlantic cod; Amer. plaice(=Long rough dab); Greenland halibut …  

Fishery Area: Grand Bank; Atlantic, Northwest / 21.3.L; Atlantic, Northwest / 21.3.N; Atlantic, Northwest / 21.3.O; NAFO area of competence

Fishery Indicators

Fisheries for groundfish have been taking place in the northwest Atlantic for over 500 years.
Harvested Resource
Type of production system: Industrial   

Fishery Area
Climatic zone: Temperate.   Depth zone: Slope - Deepslope (500 m - 1000 m).   Horizontal distribution: Neritic.   Vertical distribution: Demersal.  

Geo References for: Grand Bank
Target Species
Fleet segment
Vessel Type
Flag State
Russian Federation

In 2013 the main countries that fished were Canada, Cuba, Estonia, Faroe Islands, France (St. Pierre et Miquelon), Lithuania, Portugal, Russia, Spain and USA.
Fishing Gear
Single boat bottom otter trawls
The main gear used is bottom otter trawls
Fishery Indicators
TypeMeasureValueUnitTime period
Catch 25000ton2012
Ecosystem Assessment

NAFO has identified 18 areas, within its Convention area, as being vulnerable to bottom contact gears and subsequently closed the areas to bottom fishing. These include a coral and sponge protection zone (14,184 km2) in Division 3O and 2 areas on the Fogo Seamounts.

See the NAFO Scientific Council Reports for an environmental overview.
Management unit: Yes

Jurisdictional framework
Management Body/Authority(ies): Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO)
Mandate: Scientific Advice; Management; Monitoring; Control and surveillance.  
Area of Competence: NAFO area of competence
Maritime Area: High seas.  
Related Fisheries - Management system
This fishery is managed as part of the management system described in Northwest Atlantic NAFO high seas fisheries.
The extension of fishery jurisdictions in the late-1970s created NAFO and the fishery was utilized mostly by non-Canadian countries fishing outside the 200-m limit Canadian.

NAFO manages 10 groundfish stocks associated with the Grand Banks and one elasmobranch species.

Management Regime
Management Methods

TAC and quotas, by-catch and gear restrictions, minimum fish size regulations, area and time limitations. NAFO recently introduced move-away provisions.

NAFO Quota Table for stocks in Div. 3LNO (Grand Banks)

There are moratoria on Cod in Div. 3NO, American plaice in Div. 3LNO and
Witch flounder in Div. 3NO and 2J+3KL, Capelin in Div. 3NO

Species Redfish Redfish Yellowtail flounder Greenland halibut White hake Skates
Division/Contracting Party 3LN 3O 3LNO 3LMNO 3NO 3LNO
Canada 2769 6000 16575 1724 294 1167
Cuba 637 - -
Denmark (Faroe
Islands and
- - 99
European Union 1185 7000 340 6738 588 4408
France (St. Pierre
et Miquelon)
- - 188
Iceland - - -
Japan - 150 - 1178
Korea - 100 - -
Norway - - -
Russian Federation 1870 6500 - 1466 59 1167
Ukraine 150 -
United States of America - -
Others 39 100 85 0 59 258
TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH 6500 20000 17000 11493 1000 7000


NAFO Has developed a comprehensive set of regulations to monitor, survey and control the fisheries. Such as:

  • register of all vessels authorized to fish in the NAFO area
  • comprehensive reporting and recording requirements of catches and fishing effort by vessel masters, port authorities and flag States
  • labeling of fish products, stowage requirements and marking of gear
  • requirement to carry an independent observer on board
  • vessel monitoring system

See the NAFO Conservation and Enforcement Measures for details.
Source of Information
“NAFO Conservation and Enforcement Measures 2013” Click to open “Scientific Council Reports” Click to open “Meeting Proceedings of the General Council and Fisheries Commission” Click to open “NAFO 21A Extraction Tool” Click to open
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