NAFO - Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization:



Direção-Geral de Recursos Naturais, Segurança e Serviços Marítimos (DGRM)
Avenida Brasília
1449-030 Lisboa Portugal
Phone: +351 213 035 700
Fax: +351 213 035 702

NAFO - Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
2 Morris Drive, Suite 100
(Burnside Industrial Park)
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Canada B3B 1K8
Phone: +1 902 468-5590

Mailing address
P.O. Box 638
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Canada B2Y 3Y9

NAFO coverage area



NAFO is an intergovernmental organization, founded in 1979, successor to ICNAF (International Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Commission - 1949-1978). Its purpose is to promote the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources in its regulatory area.

NAFO has currently 12 Contracting Parties:

   Denmark (in respect of Faroe Islands + Greenland)
European Union (EU)
France (in respect of St. Pierre et Miquelon) 
Republic of Korea
Russian Federation


The NAFO Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in North-West Atlantic Fisheries applies to most Northwest Atlantic fisheries resources, except for salmon, tuna/marlins, whales and sedentary species.

The Convention was amended on four occasions in 1980, 1987, 1996 and most recently on 18 May 2017. The latest changes in 2017 were broader than the previous three, and their purpose was to make NAFO a modern RFMO, in particular by incorporating the ecosystem approach to fisheries management. The decision-making process was also streamlined and a mechanism for the settlement of disputes was established.


NAFO is based on the following structure

  • Fisheries Commission which is responsible for the management and conservation of fishery resources in the regulatory area (waters outside the EEZ). It shall decide annually on the conservation, management and control measures to be applied in its area of regulation, including the definition of total allowable catches to be adopted for the Convention area
  • The Scientific Council issues opinions at the request of the Fisheries Commission and of Coastal States on the stock situation of the NAFO Convention Area
  • The General Council is responsible for internal affairs and external relations. The chairman of the General Council is also the Chair of NAFO
  • The Secretariat (NAFO Headquarters) is located in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.


The first requirement for operating in NAFO is the granting of a license and a special fishing permit for the NAFO regulatory area by the DGRM in accordance with the annual legislation of the Secretary of State for Fisheries and Agriculture on the allocation of quotas in the North Atlantic area. In addition to this requirement, the following conditions shall apply:

  • Implementation of the relevant IMO vessel identification system, if required under Union law
  • The fishing vessel is not in the list of IUU vessels adopted by a RFMO and / or the Union under the IUU Regulation
  • The flag Member State have fishing opportunities under the fisheries agreement in question
  • To have a vessel monitoring system (VMS) installed and operational
  • To have an electronic recording and reporting system installed and operational
  • To have valid certificates of navigation and compliance.

Species subject to TAC

     (Annex I.A of NAFO Measures)
     Download (4.4 MB)

  • cod
  • redfish
  • american flounder
  • witch
  • yellow-tailed flounder
  • greenland halibut
  • white hake
  • skate
  • capelin
  • squid
  • shrimp.

Species with special catch, registration and control regimes

  • cod
  • american flounder
  • shrimp
  • greenland halibut
  • squid
  • sharks
  • redfish.


The rules applicable to by-catches are set out in Article 6 of the NAFO Measures: = 2017-12-21-133002-477

Fishing gears

Mesh sizes of trawl nets:

  • • 40 mm for Northern prawn (Pandalus borealis)
  • • 60 mm for short-finned squid (Illex illecebrosus)
  • • 280 mm in the cod-end and 220 mm in all other parts of the trawl for skates (Rajidae)
  • • 130 mm in directed fishing for other demersal species
  • • 100 mm for pelagic redfish (Sebastes mentella) in Subarea 2 and Divisions 1F and 3K
  • • 90 mm for redfish fishing (RED) with pelagic trawls in Divisions 3O and 3M and 3LN.

Authorized Vessels

Authorized ships can be consulted here.


Procedures in the framework of NAFO
Articles 25º and 26º of NAFO Measures
Dowlnoad (4.4 MB)


IUU Ships

IUU vessels can be consulted here.


The provisions relating to the NAFO Observer Program are set out in Chapter V of the NAFO Measures. The presence of observers on board vessels operating in the NAFO Regulatory Area is mandatory. At the end of each fishing trip, the observer shall forward the relevant report to the competent authorities for submission to the NAFO Secretariat. The latter shall be transmitted to NAFO (Executive Secretary) within thirty days of the end of the fishing trip.

The information to be collected by the observer available here.


    NAFO measures
    Download (4.4 MB)

    Regulation (EC) No.1386/2007, which transposes into conservation law and enforcement measures adopted by NAFO
    Download (1.7 MB)

    Annual North Atlantic quota allocation order
    Download (238 KB)