Suzuette Soomai, Postdoctoral Fellow with the Environmental Information: Use and Influence research program, attended the 39th annual meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), 18-22 September 2017 in Montréal, Canada. Over 180 delegates from 11 of the 12 NAFO Contracting Parties attended the meeting. The participants were welcomed to the meeting and to Canada by the NAFO President, Stéphane Artano (representing France in respect of St. Pierre et Miquelon), and the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Canadian Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard.
The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization is a regional, intergovernmental fisheries management body that conducts scientific research, provides advice, and facilitates cooperation among the Contracting Parties on management and conservation of fisheries resources in the NAFO Convention Area. The meeting marked a NAFO milestone, being the first annual meeting convened under the amended NAFO Convention, which came into force on 18 May 2017. The amended Convention modernizes NAFO, particularly by incorporating an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.
As an EIUI research partner, NAFO has accredited EIUI with official Observer status since 2013 for attendance at meetings of its Scientific Council and Fisheries Commission. Suzuette has been studying information production and its uptake in decision-making in this organization and her doctoral research focused on Canada as a Contracting Party to NAFO represented by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). She attended numerous science and management meetings and conducted interviews with a wide range of scientists and managers during her doctoral research. For her postdoctoral research, Suzuette is examining information use by senior decision-makers in DFO and information flows and decision-making by other Contracting Parties to develop a broader understanding of how scientific advice is produced and communicated within NAFO, and how scientific advice is include in the development of management advice and how decisions are made.
During the annual meeting, the NAFO General Council, Fisheries Commission, and the Scientific Council, including their subsidiary bodies, met to deliberate on management measures and scientific assessments regarding the international fisheries in the NAFO Regulated Area in the Northwest Atlantic. In addition to the traditional total allowable catch (TAC) and quota decisions, significant decisions were made regarding the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems as noted in the media release.
Author: Suzuette S. Soomai