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Commercial Fishing



MEPs endorse conservation and enforcement measures for Northwest Atlantic area. MEPs gave a green light to new responsibilities for EU vessels engaged in research and to the cross-listing of those involved in IUU fishing in regional fisheries management organisations.

The proposal from the Commission specifies the need for vessels with an EU country flag to present research plans, the requirements for vessels involved in research activities in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) area, as well as the minimum information to be included in the surveys carried on.

Parliament also approved the closure of the maritime region 3M once the total allowable catch (TAC) limit for redfish is reached. In addition, MEPs validated the prohibition of fishing, landing, transhipment and retention on board of Greenland shark in the Northwest Atlantic regulatory area.

Finally, MEPs also endorsed the adoption, in September 2022, of the cross-listing of IUU vessels from the other 12 regional fisheries management organisations.

Currently, there are around 40 EU vessels active in the Northwest Atlantic area, of which the majority are Spanish and Portuguese.

The proposal was backed by 533 votes in favour, 51 against and 11 abstentions.

Grace O’Sullivan (Greens, IE), rapporteur, said:

“This kind of legislation is the cornerstone of EU policy on fisheries and conservation, but it requires constant updating. I was particularly glad to see more protection for the Greenland shark – one of the oldest living creatures on Earth. It is further proof of the importance of EU legislation on fisheries and cooperation with Regional Fisheries Management Organisations such as NAFO.”


The Commission proposal puts into EU law decisions taken by NAFO in September 2022, which entered into force in December of the same year. They concern the activity of EU vessels in the Northwest Atlantic area.

These proposals are binding to all NAFO members. This is the regional fisheries management organisation responsible for managing fishery resources in the Northwest Atlantic. The EU, represented by the Commission, has been a member of NAFO since 1978.

With the adoption of this legislation, Parliament is responding to the demands of citizens made in the conclusions on the Conference on the Future of Europe, notably in proposals 1(1) and 2(7).