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North Atlantic Salmon fisheries
Fishery  Fact Sheet
NASCO Fishery Resources Reports 2016
North Atlantic Salmon fisheries
Fact Sheet Citation  
Owned byNorth Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) – more>>

Overview: The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) is an intergovernmental fisheries management body. The objective of NASCO is to conserve, restore, enhance and rationally manage Atlantic salmon through international cooperation taking account of the best available scientific information.

Location of North Atlantic Salmon fisheries
 

Geographic reference:  North Atlantic
Spatial Scale: Regional
Reference year: 2016
Approach: Jurisdictional

Jurisdictional framework
Management Body/Authority(ies): North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO)
Area of Competence: NASCO area of competence

Fishing Activity
 
Fishery Area
Climatic zone: Polar; Temperate.   Vertical distribution: Pelagic.  

Geo References for: NASCO area of competence

Salmon fisheries occur in coastal, estuarine and fresh waters. There is considerable variability in the distribution of the catch among individual countries. In most countries, the majority of the catch is now taken in fresh water while the coastal catch has declined markedly. Salmon are harvested in a range of gears, including set and drifting gill nets, seine nets, various traps and rod and line.
Fishing Gear
Gillnets and entangling nets
Seine nets
Traps
Set and drifting gill nets, seine (sweep) nets, various traps and rod and line.
History
 
The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) was established in 1984. Under the NASCO Convention, fishing for salmon is prohibited beyond areas of fisheries jurisdiction and, in most areas of the North Atlantic, beyond twelve nautical miles of the baselines, thereby creating an enormous zone free of directed salmon fisheries. In response to declining abundance of salmon, since NASCO’s establishment there have been major reductions in fishing effort in salmon fisheries all around the North Atlantic and increasing use of catch and release in recreational fisheries. Marine survival of salmon currently remains low and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) advises that factors other than marine fisheries, acting both in freshwater and in the ocean (e.g. water quality, barriers to fish migration and marine mortality) are contributing to low abundance of wild Atlantic salmon. The provisional nominal catch for the North Atlantic area in 2015 was 1,285 tonnes. The estimated unreported catch in 2015 was 325 tonnes but not all countries provide an estimate. Although catches are low, the economic value and economic impact of salmon fisheries can be high.
Ecosystem Assessment
 
ICES has advised that the current salmon fisheries probably have no, or only minor, influence on the marine ecosystem. However, the exploitation rate on salmon may affect the riverine ecosystem through changes in species composition, although there is limited knowledge of the magnitude of these effects. The catch advice from ICES relating to salmon fisheries is detailed under the ‘Assessment Summary’ below.

NASCO and its Parties have agreed to adopt and apply a Precautionary Approach to the conservation, management and exploitation of salmon in order to protect the resource and preserve the environments in which it lives. Precautionary Approach agreements have been developed in relation to:

  • management of salmon fisheries;
  • habitat protection and restoration; and
  • aquaculture, introductions and transfers.


Under NASCO’s Guidelines for the Protection, Restoration and Enhancement of Atlantic Salmon Habitat, the goal is to maintain and, where possible, increase the productive capacity of Atlantic salmon habitat.

NASCO has established a database of salmon rivers that contains information on the status of the salmon stocks in each river. Currently, information including an indication of stock status is available for ~2,500 rivers www.nasco.int/RiversDatabase.aspx.
Management
 
Jurisdictional framework
Mandate: Conservation, restoration, enhancement and rational management of salmon stocks subject to the Convention, taking into account the best available scientific evidence.  
Area of Competence: NASCO area of competence
Maritime Area: Atlantic Ocean north of 36º N throughout the salmon’s migratory range.
Management Strategies
Under NASCO’s Convention regulatory measures can be agreed for fisheries by one Party that harvest salmon originating in the rivers of another Party. Regulatory measures or decisions have been adopted by NASCO in most years since its establishment for the distant-water fisheries at West Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The most recent multi-annual measures adopted in 2015 apply to the years 2015 – 2017 for the West Greenland salmon fishery and the 2015/16 – 2017/18 fishing seasons for the Faroese salmon fishery.
The Management Units (stock complexes) considered under this management regime are as follows:

West Greenland Salmon Fishery

  • North American non-maturing 1SW salmon
  • Southern European non-maturing 1SW salmon


Faroe Islands Salmon Fishery

  • Northern European maturing 1SW salmon
  • Northern European non-maturing 1SW salmon
  • Southern European maturing 1SW salmon
  • Southern European non-maturing 1SW salmon


In 2002, NASCO adopted a ‘Decision Structure for the Management of Salmon Fisheries’ to provide a basis for more consistent approaches to the management of exploitation. ‘Guidelines for the Management of Salmon Fisheries’ were adopted in 2009 to assist Parties and jurisdictions in making further progress in implementing NASCO's agreements. These Guidelines state that conservation limits should be established for all river stocks of salmon, or where these have not been established, alternative measures should be used that are effective and appropriate in defining adequate stock levels. Fishing on stocks that are below conservation limits should not be permitted, but if such fishing is allowed on the basis of overriding socio-economic factors, it should be limited to a level that will still permit stock recovery within a stated timeframe. Rational management of mixed-stock fisheries requires knowledge of the stocks that contribute to the fishery and their status, and management actions should aim to protect the weakest of the contributing stocks.
Each NASCO Party/jurisdiction has developed Implementation Plans detailing the measures to be taken over a five year period (2007 - 2012 and 2013 - 2018) to implement NASCO’s agreements.
The most recent multi-annual measures/decisions adopted in 2015 apply to the years 2015 - 2017 for the West Greenland salmon fishery and the 2015/16 - 2017/18 fishing seasons for the Faroese salmon fishery.
Negotiation Process
International through NASCO. Article 9 of the Convention details the factors to be taken into account in establishing regulatory measures as follows:

(a) the best available information, including advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea and other appropriate scientific organizations;

(b) measures taken and other factors, both inside and outside the Commission area, that affect the salmon stocks concerned;

(c) the efforts of States of origin to implement and enforce measures for the conservation, restoration, enhancement and rational management of salmon stocks in their rivers and areas of fisheries jurisdiction, including measures referred to in article 15, paragraph 5 (b);

(d) the extent to which the salmon stocks concerned feed in the areas of fisheries jurisdiction of the respective Parties;

(e) the relative effects of harvesting salmon at different stages of their migration routes;

(f) the contribution of Parties other than States of origin to the conservation of salmon stocks which migrate into their areas of fisheries jurisdiction by limiting their catches of such stocks or by other measures; and

(g) the interests of communities which are particularly dependent on salmon fisheries.
Status of Management
Details of the NASCO regulatory measures/decisions are available at www.nasco.int/fisheries.html.

The current regulatory measure for the West Greenland salmon fishery covers the years 2015 - 2017 and under this measure Greenland has committed unilaterally to limit the total annual catch for all components of its salmon fishery to not more than 45 tonnes and to further important monitoring management controls and surveillance of the fishery. There will be no commercial export of salmon. Further, under this measure, all Members of the Commission have committed to assess their homewater fisheries against the ‘Six Tenets for Effective Management of an Atlantic Salmon Fishery’ and these self-assessments will be reviewed at an Inter-sessional Meeting of the Commission prior to the 2017 Annual Meeting.

The decision for the Faroese salmon fishery covers the fishing seasons 2015/16 - 2017/18, but does not set a quota on the basis that management decisions will be made with due consideration to the ICES advice concerning the status of the stocks contributing to the fishery. There has been no commercial fishery at Faroes since 1993.

Frameworks of Indicators are used in conjunction with these measures to confirm whether or not re-assessment of the multi-annual advice used in establishing the measures is required. A range of measures, in part reflecting international obligations under the NASCO Convention, have been taken by States of origin that have resulted in significant reductions in fishing effort.
Assessment Summary
On the basis of the MSY approach, ICES has advised that fishing should only take place on salmon from rivers where stocks have been shown to be at full reproductive capacity. Furthermore, because of the different status of individual stocks within stock complexes, mixed-stock fisheries present particular threats. The management of a fishery should ideally be based upon the individual status of all stocks exploited in the fishery.



North-East Atlantic Commission area (2016 advice):

In the absence of any fisheries in the fishing seasons 2016/2017 to 2018/2019, there is a less than 95% probability of meeting the conservation limits (CLs) for the two age groups (potential one-sea-winter (1SW) and multi-sea-winter (MSW) spawners) of the Southern NEAC stock complex. Therefore, in the absence of specific management objectives, ICES advises that there are no mixed-stock fisheries options on the NEAC complexes at the Faroes in the fishing seasons 2016/2017 to 2018/2019. In the absence of any fisheries in these seasons, the probabilities of individual countries meeting their CLs range from 17% to 99% for maturing 1SW salmon and 14% to 100% for salmon maturing as MSW. Some of the management units are exploited at very low levels; however, in the absence of a management decision on which units should be included in the catch options analysis, all management units are currently included.

While stocks remain in a depleted state and in the absence of a fishery at Faroes, particular care should be taken to ensure that fisheries in homewaters are managed to protect stocks that are below their conservation limits.



North American Commission area (2015 advice):

Management advice in the form of catch options is only provided for non‐maturing 1SW and maturing 2SW salmon, as the maturing 1SW component is not fished outside of homewaters. In the absence of any fishing, there is less than 75% probability in 2015 to 2018 that the numbers of 2SW salmon returning to the six regions of North America will be above the management objectives (conservation limits for the four northern areas, rebuilding objectives for the two southern areas) simultaneously for the six regions. Therefore, in line with the objectives agreed by NASCO, there are no mixed-stock fishery options on 1SW non-maturing salmon and 2SW salmon in North America in 2015 to 2018.



West Greenland Commission area (2015 advice):

Management advice for West Greenland is based on non‐maturing 1SW salmon from North America and Southern NEAC. In the absence of any fishing in 2015 to 2017, there is less than 75% probability that the numbers of 2SW salmon returns will be above the management objectives simultaneously for the six regions of North America and Southern NEAC. Therefore, in line with the objectives agreed by NASCO, there are no mixed-stock fishery options in West Greenland for 2015 to 2017.
Management Methods
Information on management measures implemented by both States of origin and the distant-water fisheries are available in Implementation Plans, Focus Area Reports and Annual Progress Reports at www.nasco.int/implementation_plans.html.

Details of the NASCO regulatory measures/decisions are available at www.nasco.int/fisheries.html.

Multi-Annual Regulatory Measure for Fishing for Salmon at West Greenland for 2015, 2016 and 2017. NASCO Document WGC(15)21.

Decision regarding the salmon fishery in Faroese waters in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18. NASCO document NEA(15)10.
Source of Information
 
NASCO documents can be accessed at www.nasco.int/documents.html.
Decision Structure to Aid the Council and Commissions of NASCO and the Relevant Authorities in Implementing the Precautionary Approach to Management of North Atlantic Salmon Fisheries (2002). NASCO document CNL31.332. Click to openhttp://www.nasco.int/pdf/agreements/decisionstructure.pdf
NASCO Guidelines for the Management of Salmon Fisheries (2009). NASCO document CNL(09)43.12pp Click to openhttp://www.nasco.int/pdf/far_fisheries/Fisheries%20Guidelines%20Brochure.pdf
Report of the ICES Advisory Committee (2015). NASCO document CNL(15)8. Click to openhttp://www.nasco.int/scientificadvice.html
Report of the ICES Advisory Committee (2016). NASCO document CNL(16)9. Click to openhttp://www.nasco.int/scientificadvice.html
Reports of the Thirty-Second Annual Meetings of the Council and Commissions of NASCO (2015). Click to openhttp://www.nasco.int/pdf/reports_annual/2015%20Council%20Report.pdf
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