The Protection of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems in the Northwest Atlantic: NAFO Processes and Regulations

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1 The Protection of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems in the Northwest Atlantic: NAFO Processes and Regulations Dr. Ricardo Federizon Senior Fisheries Commission Coordinator Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada 1

2 International Instruments RFMOs, VME, SAI 2007 UNGA 61/105 on Sustainable Fisheries Paragraph 83 urges RFMOs to to protect VMEs from SAI by regulating bottom fishing 2008 FAO International Guidelines for the Management of Deep Sea Fisheries in the High Seas Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VME) Significant Adverse Impacts (SAI) 2009 UNGA 64/72 on Sustainable Fisheries Paragraph 119a conduct assessment in accordance to paragraph 83 of 61/105 vessels not to engage in bottom fishing until such assessments have been carried out. 2

3 NAFO s response Chapter II of the NAFO Conservation and Enforcement Measures Bottom Fisheries in the NAFO Regulatory Area Processes and regulations: Fishing Foot print Exploratory Fishing Protocols VME species indicators and elements Seamount closures High Sponge and coral concentration area closures Encounter protocols Species thresholds Impact assessments Fisheries Assessment Review process 3

4 NAFO Convention and Regulatory Area NAFO is an RFMO responsible for managing the fish stocks (except salmon, whales, tuna and sedentary species) in the NW Atlantic outside the EEZs of Coastal States (FAO Statistical Area 21). 4

5 NAFO 12 Contracting Parties Canada Cuba Denmark (in respect of Faroe Islands& Greenland) European Union (EU) France (in respect of Saint Pierre et Miquelon) Iceland Japan Korea, Republic of Norway Russian Federation Ukraine United States of America 5

6 Map of Footprint (Existing Bottom Fishing Areas) Adopted in 2011 The footprint was determined based on the historical fishing tracks Plans to fish outside the footprint are subject to prior Scientific Council evaluation and Fisheries Commission approval. Fishing outside footprint subjected to strict Exploratory Fisheries Protocol. 6

7 Exploratory Bottom Fishing Activities I. Exploratory Fishing Protocol Harvesting Plan target species, dates and areas Mitigation Plan measures to prevent SAI Catch Monitoring Plan 100% satellite tracking and 100% observer coverage Data Collection Plan identification of VMEs and species II. Notice of Intent to Conduct Exploratory Fisheries Elaboration of the four plans III. Exploratory Fishing Trip Report Fishery Data Collection Form IV. Assessment of Bottom Fishing Activity baseline information, Data gaps, risk assessment of likely impacts, proposed mitigation And management measures. 7

8 VME Indicator Species and Elements Species Large-sized sponges Stony Corals Gorgonian corals Sea pens Tube-dwelling anemones Erect bryozoans Sea lilies Sea squirts Elements Seamounts Fogo Newfoundland Corner Rise New England Canyons S of Flemish Cap Tail of Grand Banks Knolls Orphan Beothuk Shoal Tail of Grand Bank Spawning Grounds Steep flanks SE of Flemish Cap Photo credits: Bedford of Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada 8

9 Areas closed to bottom fishing ( km 2 ) - Ban on trawling using bottom contact gears (2007, 2009) (2010, 2014, 2015) (2008) 9

10 Bottom Fishing in NAFO Regulatory Area Start here Apply exploratory fishery/data collection protocols Y New fishing area? N Has fishery changed? Y Assessment required N Stop fishing N < 2 yrs - continue fishing? See separate flowchart Y New VME information? N Y Assessment required Review of Assessment Required New step Periodic review of existing fishery? Y Assessment required Existing and suggested instances when a fishery assessment would be required Fisheries Assessment in 2016 and every 5 years thereafter N No assessment required 10

11 Exploratory Fisheries Process FC-SC WG-EAFFM FC-SC WG-EAFFM 11

12 Encounter Protocol and Species Thresholds When fishing vessel catch VME indicator species above thresholds, vessel must move away 2 nautical miles. Thresholds: 7 kg of sea pens and/or 60 kg of other live coral and/or 300 kg of sponges. Dutiesare spelled out in Article 22 of the NCEM Fishing Master move away, reporting Observer identification of VME indicator species Contracting Party alert fleet and consider temporary closure of a 2 - mile-radius area if encounter location is outside footprint Secretariat archives information, forward to SC Scientific Council and Joint FC-SC WGs analysis, provide advice Fisheries Commission adopt conservation and management measures Note: Scientific Councilconcluded that establishing closed areas to bottom fishing is preferred management response over the move on rule. 12

13 Assessment of Bottom Fisheries Activities in 2016 and every 5 years (Article 23 of NCEM) 2016 Assessment completed by the Scientific Council in June 2016 Tasks Par. 47 of DSF Guidelines (Annex I.E, NCEM) Descriptionof fisheries, bycatch, effort Habitatsand communities, ecosystems Mapping of VMEs known or likely to occur in fishing area Evaluation of likely impacts --- Significant Adverse Impact VME elements in fishing area Data and methods to assess SAI Riskassessment of impacts due to fishing Mitigation and management measures, monitoring Results (WG-ESA Report Nov 2015, SC Report June 2016) 11 operational fisheries ID ed. e.g. Halibut in Flemish Cap, Nose and Tail; Cod in Flemish Cap (long line and bottom trawl), skates, shrimp, redfish fisheries, etc. Oceanographic conditions, Flemish Cap, benthic habitats, fish communities [see next slides, for example] [see next slides, for example] 8 categories of VMEs, seamounts, canyons, slopes, flanks, etc. NEREIDA scientific surveys, Kernel Density Analysis See next slides FC-SC WG-Ecosystem Approach Framework to Fisheries Management meets on August. Fisheries Commission meets in September 2016 Next step 13

14 A -Sponge B Sea pen C Gorgonian coral Areas of sponge (A), sea pen (B), and gorgonian coral (C) VME at high risk of impact (yellow), impacted (red) and low risk (green) according to calculated fishing intensity cut-off value. (Source: Report of the 8 th Meeting of the NAFO SC- Working Group on Ecosystem Science and Assessment, November SCS Doc. 15/19.) Risk of Impacts: Low at current closures (both in/outside footprint) High inside footprint, not closed to bottom fishing, not fished since 2008 Impacted VME areas inside footprint, not closed to bottom fishing, high fishing effort for many years. 14

15 SAI criteria Definition Area/Biomass at low risk Proportion of the area or biomass of VME which is currently at low risk either because it falls within a fishery closure area and/or is in an area outside of the fishing footprint Area/Biomass impacted Area/Biomass at high risk Number of overlapping VMEs Fishing effort/biomass cut-off value (Index of VME sensitivity) Index of fishing stability Index of Risk of VME fragmentation Definition of criteria used to assess SAI Proportion of the area or biomass of VME which has been exposed to a level of fishing effort above the defined cut-off point within any one year Proportion of the area or biomass of VME which falls below the defined cut-off point of fishing effort within any one year. Proportion of area overlapping with other VMEs The impact cut-off values for each of the VMEs are used as a proxy of sensitivity (a high cut-off value indicates a low sensitivity) as it indicates the point at which trawl duration/length exceeds VME indicator patch size within the habitat Number of cells consistently fished above the impact cut-off value over time as a proportion of the total cells impacted Proportion of discrete VME without protection 15

16 Quantitative Evaluation of criteria in SAI assessment for VME in the NAFO Regulatory Area Sponge Sea pen Large Gorgonian SAI Criteria Area Biomass Area Biomass Area Biomass VME Low risk 65% 73% 16% 19% 56% 63% VME High risk 14% 10% 46% 39% 12% 14% VME Impacted 21% 17% 38% 42% 31% 23% VMEs overlapping 11% 2% 74% Index of Sensitivity Fragmentation 1% 26% 2% Fishing area of stability 32% 14% 21% Working Group on Ecosystem Approach Framework to Fisheries Management (WG-EAFFM) and Fisheries Commission task: translate the results into mitigation measures to be used to prevent SAI on VMEs, and the measures to be used to monitor effects of fishing operation. 16

17 From FAO International Guidelines for the Management of Deep-sea Fisheries in the High Seas (par. 18) Six factors to consider: Significant adverse impacts 1. Intensity or severity of the impact 2. The spatial extent of the impact 3. Sensitivity/vulnerability of the ecosystem 4. Ability of the ecosystem to recover 5. Extent to which ecosystem functions may be altered by the impact 6. Timing and duration of the impact relative to life-history stages. First 3 factors being addressed Last 3 factors at a latter time 17

18 Thank you! 18

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