Members of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) were in the news again as the Canadian federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) reopened Newfoundland ports to Estonian vessels but not to Danish Faroe Islands boats. Fleets from both countries had been charged with overfishing.

In December DFO Minister Robert Thibault announced that the ban against Estonia, imposed last April, was being lifted.

“I commend the actions taken by the Estonian government to put an end to overfishing by Estonian vessels and to support Canada’s efforts to enforce responsible fishing practices in international waters off our East Coast,” Thibault said. “They have satisfied all our conditions.”

However, regarding the Faroe Islands fleets Thibault said, “The Faroese have provided assurances they will take better control of their fleet, but have not demonstrated their willingness to comply with NAFO quotas and rules. Canada will continue to consult with the Faroese authorities in an effort to resolve our outstanding concerns.”

The Faroese fleet was banned after evidence was accumulated of serious overfishing and misreporting of shrimp catches. For their part, Faroese fishermen have complained to NAFO that they’re not getting their fair share of Grand Banks shrimp.

– Bob Gustafson