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

SpeciesRedfishRedfishYellowtail flounderGreenland halibutWhite hakeSkates
Division/Contracting Party3LN3O3LNO3LMNO3NO3LNO
Denmark (Faroe
Islands and
European Union1185700034067385884408
France (St. Pierre
et Miquelon)
Russian Federation18706500-1466591167
United States of America--
TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH650020000170001149310007000


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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