David L. VanderZwaag and Emily Pudden1
The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) was established in 1984 under the authority of the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean2 (Salmon Convention) to promote the conservation, restoration, enhancement, and rational management of North Atlantic salmon stocks.3 NASCO serves as a forum for co-operation, consultation, and information sharing among participating States and organizations. Members include Canada, the United States, the European Union (EU), Iceland, Norway, Denmark (in respect of Greenland and the Faroe Islands), and the Russian Federation. In addition, five intergovernmental organizations and 34 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) participate in NASCO as observers.4
Several factors combined to create a climate ripe for the development of an international management structure for Atlantic salmon. In the 1960s and 1970s, the harvesting of salmon in the international waters of the North Atlantic increased dramatically, with the result that domestic management initiatives were no longer sufficient to regulate the exploitation of this highly mobile species.5
Overfishing, particularly on the high seas, was considered the primary reason for a decline in Atlantic salmon stocks, and States in whose rivers the salmon originated were particularly concerned about the impacts of these distant-water commercial fisheries.6 Discussions at the 1978 Atlantic Salmon Symposium identified the need for an international agreement to regulate salmon catch levels, and work began on developing a draft treaty.7
The early 1980s marked a period of growing international co-operation in the management of ocean resources. The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea expanded coastal States' fisheries jurisdictions8 and encouraged Parties to co-operate in managing anadromous fish stocks through regional organizations.9 In light of these developments, a group of States with interests in the salmon fisheries of the North Atlantic signed the Salmon Convention in 1982, laying the foundation for the establishment of NASCO.
After first providing a brief overview of the Salmon Convention and NASCO's administrative workings, this chapter highlights NASCO's actual voyaging in transboundary resource management and then proceeds to summarize key challenges still facing NASCO as it nears the 25-year milestone. Five components of NASCO's transboundary co-operative ‘voyage’ are described: addressing fisheries management, adopting the precautionary approach, broadening the NASCO net to cover aquaculture and other issues, encouraging scientific research, and reviewing NASCO's effectiveness. Following this, the chapter summarizes 10 key challenges still confronting NASCO: putting precaution into practice, embracing the ecosystem approach, enhancing public participation, considering indigenous participation and rights, getting better grips on unreported catches, bringing the St. Pierre and Miquelon fishery into the NASCO fold, preventing escape of farmed salmon, ensuring implementation of existing commitments, reaching agreement on a performance review, and addressing dispute resolution.10
The 1982 Salmon Convention was signed by Canada, the United States, the European Economic Community, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, and Denmark (in respect of Greenland and the Faroe Islands) and came into force in October 1983.11 The Russian Federation acceded to the convention in 1986.12
The Salmon Convention was envisioned as a tool for addressing the overexploitation of salmon stocks whose migratory range includes the high seas area of the Atlantic Ocean, north of 36°N latitude.13 The convention bans the harvest of salmon in waters beyond the 12-mile territorial sea of the Contracting Parties, with the exception of an area off the west coast of Greenland, outwards to a distance of 40 nautical miles, and waters under the fisheries jurisdiction of the Faroe Islands.14 The convention also establishes NASCO15 and sets out the memberships, functions, administrative structure, and procedures of the organization's Council16, regional Commissions,17 and Secretariat.18
Under Articles 14 and 15, the Parties are required to provide NASCO with regular reports outlining salmon catch statistics, scientific information on stocks, and details of domestic management initiatives and regulatory measures they have implemented. The provision of this information assists NASCO fulfill its mandate to promote and facilitate the dissemination of information on Atlantic salmon.19
NASCO activities are overseen by the NASCO Council, which is supported by a Secretariat and three regional Commissions. The Council is responsible for supervising and co-ordinating the organization's internal and external relations by facilitating co-operation and communications among NASCO members, and between members and non-signatory States, on issues affecting the salmon stocks subject to the convention.20 The Council also makes recommendations to NASCO members and to other scientific and fisheries organizations regarding scientific research.21 Up to three representatives from each Party to the Salmon Convention serve on the Council, with each Party being accorded one vote.22 The Secretariat is responsible for all administrative functions of the Council.23
The North American, West Greenland, and North-East Atlantic Commissions serve as regional forums for co-operation and consultation among member States in addressing the management of transboundary salmon resources. Each Commission holds regular meetings and submits reports on its activities to the NASCO Council.24 The Commissions may develop regulatory measures for the harvest of transboundary salmon stocks within their areas of responsibility and make recommendations to the NASCO Council on scientific research.25
The North American Commission (NAC) is composed of representatives from Canada and the United States. The Commission addresses salmon-related issues within the fisheries jurisdictions of its members off the east coast of North America.26 (See Figure 10.1.)
The West Greenland Commission (WGC) includes Canada, the United States, the EU, and Denmark (in respect of Greenland and the Faroe Islands).27 This body deals with a designated area of fisheries jurisdiction off the west coast of Greenland.28
The North-East Atlantic Commission (NEAC) is composed of Denmark (in respect of Greenland and the Faroe Islands), the EU, Iceland, Norway, and the Russian Federation.29 The NEAC is responsible for the maritime waters to the east of the WGC's area.30
Figure 10.1. Map of NASCO Regional Commission Areas
Source: <www.nasco.int> [Accessed 12 May 2007]
The regulatory measure power of Commissions is substantially constrained. Commissions may only propose regulatory measures for salmon fisheries under the jurisdiction of a member that involves harvesting of salmon originating from rivers of another Party.31 A Party in whose waters a proposed regulatory measures would apply has the option of lodging an objection to the regulatory measure within 60 days.32
Unanimous agreement among voting members is required for a Commission to determine regulatory measures affecting salmon fisheries within their respective areas.33 In addition to the regular members of each commission, the EU is entitled to propose and vote on regulatory measures affecting the NAC area where those measures concern stocks originating in EU countries. Likewise, Canada and the United States have the right to propose and vote on regulatory measures decided by the NEAC where they affect salmon stocks originating within their respective territories.34
Besides its primary function as a consultation forum where Parties can share information and views on management of transboundary salmon stocks, NASCO has played a limited role in developing regulatory measures for fisheries off West Greenland and the Faroe Islands. NASCO has also attempted to reduce high-seas salmon fishing by non-Parties, through the development of the 1992 Protocol to the Salmon Convention and the promotion of a more co-operative relationship with the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.
The West Greenland salmon fishery has been restricted to one of domestic subsistence since 2002.35 The restriction followed a conservation agreement negotiated by the North Atlantic Salmon Fund, and other non-government interests, with the Organization of Fishermen and Hunters in Greenland to compensate local fishers for relinquishing their stake in the annual commercial salmon quota set by the WGC.36 As a result of this agreement, commercial salmon fishing has ceased, the WGC no longer sets commercial quotas, and harvest levels have been restricted to the amount required for domestic subsistence consumption, estimated at 20 tons.37
No commercial salmon fishery as been carried out in the Faroe Islands since 1991. Although the NEAC continued to negotiate significant annual quotas until 2000, catch levels were restricted through the use of private-sector compensation agreements and other short-term management initiatives.38 In 2001, the Faroese Home Government resolved to apply the precautionary approach in managing the fishery, taking into account yearly scientific advice provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) on stock status.39 As a result of this decision, the NEAC no longer sets annual quotas and the commercial fishery remains closed. The Commission continues to monitor the status of salmon stocks in the area through annual reports provided by ICES, and Faroese authorities reserve the right to reopen the salmon fishery should stock conditions change.40
As neither Canada nor the United States has a commercial Atlantic salmon fishery, the development of regulatory measures by the NAC is unnecessary, although the Commission continues to review management initiatives implemented by both Parties.41 Under the terms of the Convention, NAC members have the added responsibility of reducing catches and bycatches of salmon originating in one another's rivers and obtaining consent from the State of origin before increasing harvest levels.42
In determining appropriate management measures for salmon stocks under their jurisdictions, NASCO's regional Commissions have had to balance the interests of member States in whose rivers salmon originate with those of members traditionally supporting interceptory fisheries, such as Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The Salmon Convention attempts to create an equitable solution by requiring Commissions to take into account relevant domestic salmon management initiatives, the potential impacts of contemplated exploitation options, and the interests of communities dependent on salmon fisheries in setting regulatory measures.43
To ensure that any regulatory measures developed are not detrimental to the long-term health of Atlantic salmon stocks, the Salmon Convention further directs the Commissions to rely on the best available information.44 Each year, the Council's Standing Scientific Committee prepares a formal request for advice from ICES on issues such as stock assessments and conservation limits, catch options, and management and research recommendations.45
As a result of the regulatory measures developed under the authority of the Salmon Convention, commercial salmon fishing in the international waters of the North Atlantic has largely ceased. Atlantic salmon caught outside the fisheries jurisdiction of the State in whose rivers they originate accounted for 30 per cent of the annual harvest prior to 1984 and only 1 per cent by 2004.46 Although catch levels were reduced, Atlantic salmon stocks have continued to decline in abundance and mortality at sea remains high, affecting the numbers of fish returning to their home rivers to spawn.47
Salmon fishing by non-contracting Parties
Despite progress made in reducing salmon catches among NASCO members, a number of States not party to the Convention continued to exploit the resource. In an effort to combat high-seas salmon fishing by non-Party States, the NASCO Council established a Protocol to the Salmon Convention in 1992.48 Under the terms of the protocol, signatory States would agree to implement the fisheries management provisions of the Convention.
The NASCO Council also resolved to gather data on high-seas salmon fishing by non-Parties, including vessel, catch, and transhipment information, and share information with other international organizations, such as the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), on this issue.49 In addition, NASCO members are directed to report any observances of salmon harvesting on the high seas to the Secretariat and to encourage non-contracting Parties to adopt the protocol.50 NASCO Parties are further obliged to implement measures preventing their nationals from registering fishing vessels in non-contracting States as a means of circumventing the provisions of the convention.51
Although no States adopted the protocol, diplomatic negotiations by NASCO and its members had some measure of success. There have been no recorded observances of high-seas salmon fishing in the North Atlantic since 1994,52 and NASCO no longer considers this issue to be a significant problem.53 Furthermore, non-contracting Parties, such as Poland and Panama, have taken steps to address salmon fishing in international waters by vessels flying their flags.54
St. Pierre and Miquelon Fishery
The mixed-stock salmon fishery carried out from the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon has been a cause of concern for NASCO, as catch levels threaten North American salmon conservation initiatives. In 2000 and 2002, NASCO adopted resolutions calling on Contracting Parties to encourage France, in respect of St. Pierre and Miquelon, to co-operate with NASCO's conservation and management measures and implement ICES recommendations to reduce salmon harvest levels.55 France was requested to provide NASCO with information on the fishery, including management measures, catch data, and unreported catch estimates. The 2002 resolution further requested NASCO Parties to pressure France to participate in a scientific sampling programme for the fishery.
In recent years, co-operation between France and NASCO in respect of the St. Pierre and Miquelon salmon fishery has increased. A biometric, genetic, and pathological scientific sampling programme has been developed to gather scientific information on the St. Pierre and Miquelon salmon stocks. Annual biometric assessments have been carried out since 2003, while tissue and scale samples, collected since 2004, are undergoing genetic analysis as part of an ongoing joint initiative with Canada. The pathological component of the sampling programme, testing for the presence of diseases and parasites, has not yet been initiated.56
Since 2004, France has presented a report on the sampling programme and the regulatory framework in place for managing the islands' fishery, including details on licensing provisions and reported catches, at NASCO's Annual Meetings.57 Although France considers the St. Pierre and Miquelon fishery to be a traditional subsistence fishery, the country stated its intention to reduce catch levels by limiting the number of permits issued in the coming years.58
Over the last 10 years, NASCO has emphasised the importance of adopting a precautionary approach in the conservation, management, and exploitation of Atlantic salmon. The exercise of precaution in the face of uncertainty or inadequate information is a fundamental component of modern sustainable development practices.59 NASCO's 1998 Agreement on Adoption of a Precautionary Approach60 and the accompanying 1999 Action Plan for Application of the Precautionary Approach61 serve as guidance documents for the organization and its Parties in incorporating precaution into management decisions.
For NASCO, the precautionary approach includes:
Giving priority to conserving salmon stocks in the face of uncertainties regarding resource use;
The prior identification of undesirable outcomes and the actions necessary to correct or avoid them;
Implementing corrective measures immediately when required; and
Demonstrating consideration of the needs of future generations by avoiding potentially irreversible changes.62
In 2002, NASCO adopted a model decision structure to assist Parties in consistently applying the precautionary approach to the management of single- and mixed-stock salmon fisheries.63 NASCO has also sought to improve catch reporting mechanisms in an effort to address high unreported catch values and to promote research initiatives evaluating the risk and impact of salmon bycatch in pelagic fisheries. NASCO's guidelines on stock rebuilding set out a multi-stage process for developing and implementing remedial programmes in the context of the precautionary approach. NASCO has also adopted guidelines in incorporating social and economic factors in reaching precautionary decisions.
Fisheries management decision structure
The decision structure is intended to help managers ensure that salmon harvest levels do not exceed the resource's exploitable surplus and that effective monitoring, control, and enforcement measures are developed and implemented.64 The model sets out a uniform process for recording the status of local salmon stocks, serving to both guide management decisions and record actions taken.65
Managers are encouraged to use reference points, such as conservation limits66 and management targets, to monitor and assess the abundance and diversity of local salmon stocks. Pre-agreed management actions can then be triggered when a stock reaches or falls below its conservation limit. The decision structure further emphasizes precaution by encouraging managers to assess the risks of various management actions to stock abundance and diversity before decisions are made, in order to help ensure a high probability of success in achieving management goals.
Although NASCO does not have the authority to enforce the use of the decision structure among member States, Parties agreed to evaluate the model's effectiveness and its adaptability to the unique requirements of particular rivers or stocks.67 In advance of the 2005 Annual Meeting, the Council asked Parties to submit assessment reports, along with an example of the decision structure's implementation. Responses revealed that Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Scotland, and Iceland had not applied the guidelines to any domestic salmon management programmes. Furthermore, only the United Kingdom (England and Wales) and the Russian Federation provided an example of the structure's application.68
In 2004, unreported catch values were estimated at 593–791 tonnes, equal to 28–36 per cent of the total reported Atlantic salmon catch.69 A major focus for NASCO in addressing this problem has been improving the clarity and transparency of catch reporting mechanisms in accordance with NASCO guidelines on the precautionary approach.70
Since introducing minimum standards for catch statistics in 1993,71 NASCO has continued to refine its guidelines for estimating and recounting unreported catch data.72 Parties provide NASCO with annual accounts of the number, weight, and age-class of fish caught in all components of the salmon fisheries73 along with estimates for recreational catch and release fisheries.74
From 1985 to 1998, ICES provided NASCO with yearly estimates of unreported catches for each of the three regional Commission areas based on numbers submitted by individual countries. However, the methods by which each State determined unreported catch values were not always explained. Under NASCO's revised guidelines, Parties are obliged to break down annual unreported catch estimates on a stock complex basis and provide an explanation as to how these values have been determined.75
NASCO has also encouraged its members to implement measures to address unreported catches and report the results of such initiatives.76 Recent actions taken by NASCO Parties include seasonal fishing restrictions (Iceland), enforcement actions (Canada), public education initiatives (Greenland and United States), and improvements to catch reporting systems (Norway).77
Although progress has been made in the way of improved reporting mechanisms and management initiatives, unreported salmon catches remain a concern for NASCO, and a Special Session on this topic was scheduled for the 2007 Annual Meeting.78
Salmon bycatch in pelagic fisheries
The bycatch of salmon in the herring and mackerel fisheries of the northeast Atlantic has the potential to detrimentally affect the health of Atlantic salmon stocks.79 As such, NASCO has emphasized the importance of adopting a precautionary approach in the management of any fisheries with the potential for salmon bycatch, and Parties are directed to consider this issue when developing fisheries management measures.80 NASCO has further requested its members to encourage non-contracting Parties engaging in such fisheries to implement actions to minimize bycatches.81
One of NASCO's current priorities is the promotion of research initiatives evaluating the risk and impact of salmon bycatch in pelagic fisheries. The NASCO Council has encouraged studies on the distribution of salmon at sea, including their spatial and temporal overlap with commercial pelagic fish stocks.82 The organization has also promoted a series of pilot projects studying the effects of technical modifications to pelagic fisheries gear, and its deployment methods, in minimizing the bycatch of salmon.83 Finally, NASCO has sought information from ICES and the NEAFC on the risks of salmon bycatch in other fisheries and its effect on Atlantic salmon stocks.84
Stock rebuilding programmes
NASCO's Agreement on the Adoption of Precaution calls for the use of rebuilding programmes to maintain salmon stocks above conservation limits.85 To assist managers in developing and implementing remedial measures, such as restricting catches, restocking threatened populations, and habitat improvement projects, NASCO issued multi-stage guidelines on stock rebuilding programmes.86
The guidelines state that management measures should be determined based on the results of assessments examining stock abundance, decline, and population diversity.87 Managers are also directed to evaluate potential natural and cultural threats, including environmental change, habitat degradation, interactions among different species, and human exploitation.88 Management actions should be developed and prioritized based on identified biological characteristics of the stock and the potential threats to its survival.89 Finally, recommendations for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of rebuilding measures are provided.90
The guidelines specify that all stock rebuilding activities should comply with the precautionary approach.91 This includes taking into account uncertainties in stock assessment data and further research to address existing knowledge gaps. The guidelines further recommend that managers consider potential social and economic impacts when determining stock rebuilding options.92 The value of stakeholder consultation and involvement, from the earliest possible stage, is also highlighted.93
Incorporating social and economic factors under the precautionary approach
In 2004 NASCO adopted guidelines for incorporating social and economic factors in decisions under the precautionary approach.94 Meant to apply to all decisions where proposals may affect wild Atlantic salmon and their environment, the guidelines urge Parties to subject proposals to socioeconomic impact assessment. Management options with the highest social, economic, and environmental benefits are encouraged.95
To further develop social and economic valuation approaches, NASCO's Council decided at its Twenty-Fourth Annual meeting in June 2007 to establish a Working Group on Socio-Economics with a mandate to meet at least once before the 2008 NASCO meeting.96
With Atlantic salmon stocks continuing to decline, NASCO expanded the scope of its work to tackle a broader range of threats. The Williamsburg Resolution pledges NASCO Parties to co-operate in minimizing adverse effects to wild salmon stocks from aquaculture, introductions and transfers, and transgenics.97 NASCO has also addressed salmon habitat protection and restoration through the development of a Habitat Action Plan and the promotion of information-sharing on the impacts of acid rain and mitigation techniques.
Aquaculture, introductions and transfers, and transgenics: the Williamsburg Resolution
Adopted in 2003, the Williamsburg Resolution consolidates various guidance documents on aquaculture, introductions and transfers, and transgenics, some of which go back to the 1990s.98 Co-operative guidance is set out in the main text of the resolution followed by seven annexes and two appendices.
Application of the precautionary approach is urged. Article 3 recommends that each Party place the burden of proof on proponents of activities, such as proposed aquaculture operations, to demonstrate the activities will not have a significant adverse impact on wild salmon stocks or lead to irreversible change. Article 4 encourages Parties to develop and apply risk assessment methodologies as an integral component of precaution. Article 7 suggests the use of transgenic salmonids should be considered a high-risk activity in light of the lack of scientific knowledge and advocates a strong presumption against any such use.
Various measures to minimize impacts of aquaculture and introductions or transfers are called for. For example, Parties are urged to minimize the escape of farmed salmon to a level as close as practicable to zero through the development and implementation of action plans.99 Introduction of non-indigenous fish into a river containing Atlantic salmon is frowned upon unless a thorough examination of the potential adverse impacts on the Atlantic salmon populations indicates there is no unacceptable risk of adverse ecological effects.100
Annex 1 provides definitions of key terms. For example, the meaning of the words “introductions and transfers,” two activities the Williamsburg Resolution aims to address, is clarified.
Annex 2 sets out further guidance on how Parties might minimize the impacts on wild salmon stocks of salmon aquaculture and introductions or transfers. Among other measures, Parties are urged to consider establishing ‘wild salmon protection areas’ where salmon aquaculture would be prohibited or restricted as well as ‘aquaculture regions’ where fish farming would be concentrated.101
Guidelines on Containment of Farm Salmon, set out in Annex 3, were adopted in 2001102 and provide very general directions on how escapes of farmed salmon to freshwater and marine environments might be prevented. Siting of aquaculture operations in areas where weather and environmental conditions are not harsh on nets and moorings is encouraged.103 Aquaculturalists are urged to adopt preventative inspection and repair procedures and to undertake regular stress testing of all nets in use.104 Operators are advised to report significant escapes immediately to authorities and to develop site-specific contingency plans where recapture details would be spelled out.105 Each jurisdiction is encouraged to draw up a national action plan (or regional plans) for minimizing escapes and to report annually on implementation progress.106
Guidelines for stocking Atlantic salmon, for example, from hatcheries for enhancement, restoration, or ranching purposes, are contained in Annex 4. Parties are urged to apply the precautionary approach to stocking proposals, whereby proponents would have to provide all information necessary to demonstrate that stocking would not have a significant adverse impact on wild salmon populations or an unacceptable impact on the ecosystem.107 The guidelines urge prohibition of the release of Atlantic salmon of European, including Icelandic, origin in the NAC area and of Atlantic salmon of North American origin in the NEAC area.108
Annex 5 includes NASCO Guidelines for Action on Transgenic Salmonids. To counter the potential risks raised by genetically modified salmon to wild stocks, the guidelines call upon Parties to confine the use of transgenic salmonids to ‘secure, self-contained, land-based facilities’.109 Parties are also asked to advise the NASCO Council of any proposal to permit the rearing of transgenics. Details regarding containment and safeguard measures are also to be provided.110
Annex 6 encourages Parties to classify and zone their Atlantic salmon rivers. For example, some areas may be designated as off limits for salmon enhancement efforts or aquaculture operations.
Annex 7 lists research priorities to support the Williamsburg Resolution. Parties agree to encourage research relating to sterile fish, tagging and making farmed salmon, production methods and technologies, aquaculture broodstocks, genetics, diseases and parasites, interaction of wild and farmed salmon, risk assessment frameworks, and escape prevention.
Appendix 1 to the Williamsburg Resolution includes NAC Protocols for Introduction and Transfer of Salmonids.111 The NAC area is divided into three zones based upon the degree of degradation or manipulation of wild Atlantic salmon populations, with Zone I being least affected.112 Management approaches in relation to introduction or transfers, aquaculture, and commercial ranching are established for each zone, with the most stringent restrictions applying within Zone I. For all three zones, reproductively viable strains of Atlantic salmon of European origin, including Icelandic origin, are not to be released or used.113 Government agencies are called upon to establish a permit system for all introductions and transfer of fishes and to enact regulations to control introductions and transfers in accord with the agreed approaches.114
Appendix 2 includes a memorandum of understanding between Canada and the United States, adopted in 2005, that seeks to reconcile differing methods within the two countries for authorization of introductions and transfers. The Parties agree to consult with each other over introduction or transfer proposals that may have an impact on the other and any proposal that would be inconsistent with the NAC protocols.115
Habitat protection and restoration
Recognizing the numerous local activities affecting salmon habitat, such as hydroelectric development, irrigation projects, forestry, land drainage, and pollution, the Parties in 2001 adopted the NASCO Plan of Action for the Application of the Precautionary Approach to the Protection and Restoration of Atlantic Salmon Habitat.116 NASCO has also promoted information sharing on the impacts of acid rain and potential mitigation measures to protect salmon habitat.
Habitat Plan of Action
The Habitat Plan of Action sets out two overarching commitments: the need by each Party and its relevant jurisdictions to establish salmon river inventories and the need to develop national salmon habitat protection and restoration plans.117
Detailed guidance is given in Annex 2 of the Plan as to what information should be included for country inventories of salmon rivers. Besides basic information like river names, lengths, and locations, inventories should also provide salmon production data, such as historic and current levels of wild salmon smolts, proportion of adult salmon comprising reared fish, and critical habitat areas. Inclusion of habitat impact data is also encouraged.118
The Plan of Action also provides a checklist of what national habitat protection and restoration plans should address. Plans should among other things contain strategies for habitat protection and restoration, be co-ordinated with catchment area or watershed planning processes, and introduce habitat evaluation and monitoring systems.119 Each relevant jurisdiction is urged to apply the precautionary approach through habitat plan implementation by placing the burden of proof on proponents of potential activities that have an impact on habitat.120 Co-ordination of national habitat plans to deal with transboundary issues is also urged.121
To help measure how the objective of maintaining and where possible increasing the current productive capacity of Atlantic salmon habitat, the NASCO Plan of Action encourages national reporting. Contracting Parties are asked to regularly report on and update (perhaps every five years) their salmon river inventories.122 Parties are requested to report to NASCO on progress towards implementation of habitat plans ‘on an ongoing basis’.123
Air pollution and acid rain
The threats posed to wild salmon by acid rain and related leaching of toxic aluminium124 have been a concern of NASCO Parties, but NASCO has shied away from taking an advocacy role towards further reduction in fossil fuel emissions. NASCO has instead served as an information-sharing forum on the impacts of acid rain and mitigation techniques. The impact of acid rain on Atlantic salmon was included as an agenda item for the 2005 and 2006 Annual Meetings of the Council. At the 2005 meeting, Canada tabled a report on impacts of acid rain that highlighted that acid rain still affects a large area of south-eastern Canada (equal to the size of France), suggesting the need for reduction of acid rain contributing emissions from both the United States and Canada by 75 per cent and noting the initiation of a liming project for a river in eastern Nova Scotia to improve the habitat and survival of salmon.125 At the 2006 meeting, Norway reported annual expenditures associated with liming 22 acidified salmon rivers as being around £4 million.126 The representative of the NGOs lamented the lack of progress in Canada and the United States in developing and applying mitigation strategies for rivers affected by acid rain in Nova Scotia and Maine.127
Although NASCO's Habitat Plan of Action draws attention to the threats of industrial air pollution and acid rain, the plan indicates that addressing transboundary air pollution should be dealt with in other international fora.128 Such fora are not specified but would clearly include efforts under the UN Economic Commission for Europe to address long-range transport of air pollutants129 and Canadian–US initiatives on air quality.130
The absence of reliable scientific information on which to base management decisions represents a significant challenge for NASCO Parties in conserving salmon populations. To address this problem, NASCO members formed the International Atlantic Salmon Research Board in 2001.131 The Board's current priority is the Salmon at Sea (SALSEA) Programme, studying factors affecting the migration and distribution of salmon at sea.
International Atlantic Salmon Research Board
The Research Board was established to encourage and facilitate co-operation and collaboration on research related to marine mortality in salmon.132 Board members include both NASCO Parties and accredited NGO representatives.133 The Board's Scientific Advisory Group evaluates ongoing and proposed research projects and provides Board members with recommendations regarding priorities for future research, submitted project proposals, and the co-ordination of research results and activities.134
In addition to promoting new research, the Board helps co-ordinate existing research by maintaining an international inventory, accessible through the Board's Web site, of completed, current, and planned research on salmon mortality at sea.135 The inventory is a valuable tool for sharing information on current and past salmon research projects and helping to identify priorities for future research.136 Projects are classified under five headings: life history and biological processes, specific natural and anthropogenic factors, long-term monitoring, development of methods, and distribution/migration at sea.
Fundraising to help offset the prohibitive costs of ocean-based research is another important function of the Research Board, which has sought to partner with organizations and interested individuals in supporting large-scale projects.137 These partnerships mark an innovative approach, unique among international fisheries organizations, to facilitating research initiatives.138 NASCO Parties and their partners have spent approximately UK£6 million annually on sea-based salmon research.139
The Research Board initiated the SALSEA Programme to address its current priority – the migration and distribution of salmon at sea with particular reference to feeding patterns and predation – in order to better understand factors contributing to salmon marine mortality.140 SALSEA is a broad, multiyear programme involving the co-ordination of existing research as well as the development and implementation of new studies. Scientists representing all NASCO Parties contributed to the development of this international co-operative venture.141
The SALSEA Programme is organized into a series of four Work Packages.142 The first focuses on the development of technologies to support the implementation of the programme, including sampling gear, stock identification methods, migration models, and analytical techniques for assessing salmon populations.
Work Package 2 studies salmon migration through the inshore zone, from rivers and estuaries to coastal waters. Information gathered during these projects will help identify the effects of factors operating in the inshore zone that ultimately affect salmon mortality at sea. To date, funding for this part of the programme has been largely confined to national agencies and their partners.
Work Package 3 evaluates the distribution and migration of salmon at sea through a survey of post-smolts in the North Atlantic. As this phase will entail considerable research costs, the Board has developed a detailed implementation plan, including proposed public-private funding partnerships.
Work Package 4 addresses the communications necessary to implement SALSEA, including developing a fundraising strategy, facilitating information exchange among scientists and managers, and increasing public awareness.
To mark its twentieth anniversary, in 2004 NASCO members undertook a comprehensive review of the organization's effectiveness in meeting salmon conservation and management objectives. A working group was established to review NASCO's structure and procedural aspects and provide recommendations for addressing management challenges. The group examined the results of two public stakeholder consultation meetings, along with a number of discussion documents prepared by NASCO Parties and NGOs, and developed a vision statement and strategic approach to guide NASCO's future actions.143 While most of the working group's recommendations were approved for immediate implementation at NASCO's 2005 Annual Meeting, a task force was established to further develop recommendations for improving commitment to NASCO agreements and increasing transparency and inclusivity in NASCO decisions.144 The resultant suggestions were approved at the 2006 Annual Meeting.145
NASCO's newly adopted vision is “to pursue the restoration of abundant Atlantic salmon stocks throughout the species' range with the aim of providing the greatest possible benefits to society and individuals”.146 The strategic approach, to guide NASCO's actions in achieving this vision, is comprised of four key goals: ensuring members' commitment to, and accountability for, implementing NASCO measures and agreements; increasing the organization's effectiveness and efficiency; ensuring transparency and inclusivity in NASCO processes; and, raising NASCO's public profile.
Implementation commitment and accountability
Among the most notable recommendations adopted by NASCO are those geared towards improving the Parties' commitment to, and accountability for, implementing NASCO guidelines and agreements. In response to NGO concerns regarding NASCO's inability to ensure compliance among Parties in implementing management measures and agreements, the working group recommended that each NASCO jurisdiction be required to develop an Implementation Plan outlining its actions for achieving NASCO management objectives. In addition, the group set out provisions for regular reporting on, and review of, any actions taken.147
The Next Steps Task Force drafted guidelines for the Parties to follow in preparing their Implementation Plans. The plans are to outline the actions taken or planned by each Party to achieve NASCO's objectives in relation to salmon fisheries management; aquaculture, introductions, transfers, and transgenics; and habitat protection and restoration. The plans are also to include measurable outputs and timelines and to take into account NASCO guidelines on incorporating socioeconomic factors into decision making.148 Draft Implementation Plans were submitted to NASCO by each jurisdiction in October 2006.
A Review Committee was established to study the draft plans and provide critical analysis. The Committee included one representative each from Denmark, in respect of Greenland and the Faroe Islands (but not both); a European Party to NASCO; a North American Party to NASCO; NASCO's Standing Scientific Committee; a North American NASCO-accredited NGO; and a European NASCO-accredited NGO. The Committee presented its findings at NASCO's 2007 Annual Meeting.149
A key component of NASCO's new commitment to ensuring the implementation of its guidelines and agreements is its attempt to increase accountability through improved reporting mechanisms. Parties are to prepare regular reports outlining which actions have been implemented and whether expected objectives have been achieved. In addition, each jurisdiction is obliged to present oral progress reports on specific aspects of their Implementation Plans during open special sessions at NASCO Annual Meetings as of 2007.150
Increasing effectiveness and efficiency
Recommendations for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of NASCO operations were adopted at NASCO's 2005 Annual Meeting. The topic ‘new or emerging opportunities for, or threats to, salmon conservation and management’ has been added to the agendas of NASCO Annual Meetings to help ensure that NASCO is prepared to respond to new developments. NASCO-accredited NGOs and ICES are also encouraged to supply the Council with information on this topic.151
The Council agreed that the regional Commissions would discuss the feasibility of requesting scientific advice from ICES on a multiyear basis and using multiyear regulatory measures for the West Greenland and Faroese salmon fisheries. The Council requested ICES to provide catch advice for the 2006–2008 period. In 2006 ICES provided multiannual management advice for all the NASCO Commission Areas and presented a preliminary Framework of Indicators that would gauge whether any significant changes in previously multiannual advice had occurred in subsequent years.152 Three-year regulatory measures were agreed upon in the West Greenland and North-East Atlantic Commissions, with the second and third year of regulatory measures being dependant on ICES providing a finalized Framework of Indicators and the Parties to each Commission Area accepting that submission.153
Ensuring transparency and inclusivity
To address concerns raised by NGO representatives, the NASCO Council agreed to adopt several recommendations for improving stakeholder participation and increasing transparency in NASCO decisions. In 2006, the Council amended its Conditions for Attendance by Observers at NASCO. The conditions allow the accredited NGO chairperson and/or designee to make interventions on behalf of NGOs during regular meetings of the Council and Commissions. During sessions designated as Special Sessions, any NGO representative may make interventions.154
The Council has indicated a willingness to consider holding further public consultation meetings in 2008 or 2009 to promote public education and outreach initiatives and to receive feedback on suggestions for improving NASCO and its work.155 Accredited NGOs have also been encouraged to continue providing NASCO with their recommendations for improving the inclusiveness of the organization.
At its 2005 Annual Meeting, the Council agreed to seek stakeholder input for NASCO working groups, as appropriate, and to support NGO participation in the Aquaculture Liaison Group between NASCO and the North Atlantic salmon farming industry. While representatives of the salmon farming industry initially resisted NGO participation in the Liaison Group, agreement was reached prior to the Boston meeting of the North Atlantic Salmon Farming Industry and the NASCO Liaison Group in March 2007, to allow the chairperson of NASCO's accredited NGOs and/or his/her designate to participate in meetings.156
To help ensure transparency in NASCO decisions and processes, the Council agreed that any new issues for discussion would be introduced during the annual Council or Commission meetings. In this way, NASCO observers are kept informed of new agendas and can participate in discussions through interventions when required. It was further determined that decisions reached during closed Heads of Delegations meetings would be presented, along with the rationale behind the decision and information on any debates related to the issue, at a subsequent Commission or Council meeting.157
Raising NASCO's profile
Among the conclusions reached during the Next Steps public consultation meetings is that NASCO is not well known among many stakeholders with interests in Atlantic salmon. To address this problem, the Council is working towards raising NASCO's public profile and improving cooperation with compatible international organizations.
The Council has agreed to establish a Public Relations Group to develop and implement a programme to promote the organization's objectives, actions, and achievements as a way of gaining public and political support for salmon conservation and management initiatives. Professional media consultants are to be retained to produce media products and enhance the NASCO Web site to make it more user-friendly. NASCO members also resolved to consult their NGO affiliates for advice in developing a media strategy.158
The Secretariat prepared a report on enhancing co-operation with other international organizations for discussion at the 2006 Annual Meeting.159 Although the report provides a series of recommendations for strengthening links with compatible groups, the actions necessary to achieve them have yet to be implemented.
While some challenges facing NASCO were already touched upon above, including the bycatch of salmon in other fisheries, this section briefly describes 10 issue areas confronting NASCO.
Application of the precautionary approach to fisheries management continues to be a challenge on many fronts. The ideal of having precautionary conservation limits and management targets for each salmon river160 is still far from realization. For example, among European countries, only France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom (England & Wales) have fully implemented river-specific conservation limits, according to ICES.161 Although ICES has expressed concern over fisheries on mixed stocks occurring either in coastal waters or on the high seas, since such fisheries cannot target only these stocks with precautionary limits, ICES's precautionary recommendations for the complete cessation of fishing mixed stocks off West Greenland have not been followed.162 Getting a clear picture on how countries are implementing precaution in fishing management remains difficult due to the lack of specific and detailed reporting by jurisdictions on how the Agreement on Adoption of a Precautionary Approach is being put into practice.163
Precaution appears to be largely a paper exercise in its application to aquaculture and habitat protection and restoration. While the Williamsburg Resolution calls for placing the burden of proof on proponents of aquaculture activities to demonstrate proposed activities will not have a significant adverse impact on wild salmon or lead to irreversible change,164 and while the Habitat Plan of Action contains similar urging,165 the admonitions are not legally binding. Reports on implementation of NASCO agreements and guidance documents submitted by 15 jurisdictions in October 2006 did not indicate how the precautionary onus of proof is being applied in domestic decision-making processes relating to aquaculture or biodiversity conservation.
A recent review of Canadian aquaculture regulations raises serious doubts about how seriously precaution is being implemented.166 For example, no provincial aquaculture legislation explicitly requires a precautionary approach to aquaculture licensing.167 While commercial finfish mariculture proposals generally require environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act,168 the legislation only gives a limited embrace to the precautionary approach in the purpose section,169 and the screening reviews usually applied to proposals have been limited in public participation and consideration of precaution.170
While the ecosystem approach is still subject to considerable debate over terminology and management implications,171 a number of key directions are emerging. They include the need to protect ecosystems on which fish stocks depend; spur regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) to consider the impacts of fisheries on marine biodiversity health; promote co-ordination among the RFMOs having overlapping fisheries management jurisdictions; and foster co-operation between RFMOs and regional marine environmental conservation programmes and initiatives.172
NASCO might be described as “sputtering along” on the path to implementing the ecosystem approach. The Convention for the Conservation of North Atlantic Salmon, preceding the fast-paced international acceptance of the ecosystem approach,173 does not establish a firm foundation for implementing the approach. The convention is largely focused on protecting Atlantic salmon from high-seas targeted fisheries and ensuring salmon catches primarily occur within the 12-nautical-mile territorial seas.174 Contracting Parties have certainly devoted more emphasis to implementing the precautionary approach than the ‘come lately’ ecosystem approach. Protection and restoration of wild salmon habitats remains a ‘soft law’ obligation. Recovery of endangered salmon populations has been left mainly to coastal states.175
Co-operation with other international organizations having potential impacts on wild salmon has yet to be fully worked out. The NASCO Secretariat has invited representatives from various international organizations to attend annual meetings176 and has occasionally attended annual meetings of other regional fisheries organizations such as the North Pacific Anadromous Fisheries Commission.177 The Secretariats of the North Atlantic Regional Fisheries Management Organizations have also met from time to time,178 and every second year NASCO has participated in the meeting of Secretariats of Regional Fisheries Bodies from around the globe under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization and its Committee on Fisheries.179 While a Memorandum of Understanding has been entered into with ICES, no formal co-operation agreements have been forged with other organizations.180
Although NASCO stands out as one of the more progressive RFMOs in encouraging NGO and intergovernment organizational involvements181 in annual meetings and other processes, such as implementation reviews, participation issues still loom in the horizon. Beyond the question of whether entities other than national governments should have voting powers, the issues include whether financial support should be offered for NGO participation in NASCO meetings,182 what the appropriate number of nongovernmental representatives should be in liaison and review committees and the representational adequacy, and whether NGOs, individuals, or other groups should be empowered to lodge complaints and ask for investigations for lack of implementation of convention obligations and subsidiary agreements by Parties.183
While indigenous communities around the North Atlantic may have special cultural, economic, and historical connections with the harvesting of wild salmon,184 the Salmon Convention is silent on the topics of indigenous participation and rights. The convention emphasizes fishery management co-operation among State Parties and defers to each Party to decide the details regarding access rights and allocation priorities at the national level.
Although NASCO has not specifically addressed issues of indigenous rights to date, future challenges cannot be ruled out in light of the evolving nature of indigenous rights in international law and practice.185 Special participation status might be argued for beyond the observer category.186 Specific requirements that future fisheries, aquaculture, and potential habitat degradation activities fully consider the impacts on North Atlantic indigenous communities and cultural values might also be considered.
The Special Session on Unreported Catches at the 2007 Annual Meeting highlighted the ongoing problem of unreported catches in many jurisdictions. In 2006, between 534 and 767 tonnes were estimated to be unreported out of a provisional declared catch of 2,001 tonnes, making the unreported catch 27–38 per cent of the reported catch.187 Limited reporting in Greenland, which is in the process of being addressed through media efforts to educate the public on the need to report all salmon catches, was especially worrisome – with ICES estimating around 10 tonnes of unreported catches in recent years, quite a large quantity in light of the total 22.8 tonnes reported caught in 2006.188
While the 2007 Special Session provided a useful forum for sharing national approaches and challenges in documenting and addressing unreported catches, how exactly to tackle the unreporting issue was left unresolved. Various ideas were floated in the Special Session, including adoption of a catch documentation scheme, tagging of salmon carcasses, and the establishment of a NASCO working group to suggest ways forward in documenting and solving unreported catches.189 NASCO's Council did not adopt specific actions but decided the issue of unreported catches would remain on the Council's agenda for its Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting in 2008.190
At the 2007 Annual Meeting, serious concerns over the mixed-stock fishery for salmon at St. Pierre and Miquelon were again raised. Despite the reduction of licences issued in 2006 (62, down from 66 in 2005), the catch in 2006 of 3,555 kilograms was the highest for the period 1998–2006 and about 8 per cent higher than in 2005.191
NASCO's Council devoted considerable attention to addressing the challenge. The Council noted the unfortunate reality that while France is a member State and participates in the EU delegation to NASCO in relation to its domestic salmon fishery, the government has not chosen to become a Party to NASCO on behalf of its overseas territory.192 The President of NASCO expressed concern that France in respect to St. Pierre and Miquelon had not participated in the Twenty-Fourth Annual Meeting.193 The Council authorized the President of NASCO to invite France (in respect of St. Pierre and Miquelon) to accede to the Salmon Convention.194
While NASCO has developed Guidelines on Containment of Farm Salmon195 and has fostered dialogues between those interested in wild salmon conservation and those in the aquaculture industry,196 the number of escapes from aquaculture operations still tends to be substantial – at least in some jurisdictions. For example, Norway has reported that escaped farmed salmon averaged about 417,000 a year for the period 1994–2004, while over 700,000 salmon and rainbow trout escaped annually in 2005 and 2006.197 In 2005, four acts of vandalism in Canada resulted in the release of approximately 150,000 farmed fish.198 In recent years, escaped aquaculture fish have accounted for anywhere from 2 per cent to 100 per cent of total salmon returns to some Maine rivers in the United States.199
Challenging questions still face NASCO in relation to escape prevention.200 How might the existing Guidelines on Containment of Farm Salmon be clarified and tightened?201 What policy approach should be favoured to control escapes – for example, a ban or phaseout for marine-cage farming, a prohibition on escapes backed up with potential fines, or imposition of cage construction and operational standards?202 Is it feasible to consider a multilateral aquaculture agreement or inter-regional guidelines where the problem of escapes might be addressed on a broader geographical basis, such as escape of farmed salmon into the Pacific and possibly the Southern Ocean.203
To further consider how to better address escapes and other impacts of salmon farming on wild stocks, NASCO's Council at its June 2007 meeting agreed to establish a Joint Technical Task Force involving industry and NASCO representatives. The representative of an NGO offered to provide a technical expert to the proposed Task Force. The Task Force is requested to develop best practice recommendations and to meet before the next Annual Meeting of NASCO.204
NASCO's attempt to bolster implementation by Parties of its three main agreements and guidelines addressing fisheries management, aquaculture and associated activities, and habitat protection and restoration has met with only partial success. While 15 Implementation Plans were submitted for consideration at the 24th Annual Meeting in June 2007, the majority of them failed to make any reference to NASCO's agreements, resolutions, and guidelines and most plans failed to identify specific implementation actions.205 France and Germany submitted plans late and Portugal did not submit an Implementation Plan. The Ad Hoc Review Group tasked with assessing the plans simply evaluated their structure and content and did not investigate the adequacy of each jurisdiction's record in salmon management.206
The 24th Annual Meeting of NASCO's Council decided on the focus of the first reports by Parties under their Implementation Plans to be made in 2008 and the terms of reference and composition of a further Ad Hoc Review Group. The Council agreed that each Party or jurisdiction would prepare a Fisheries Management Focus Area Report for the 2008 Annual Meeting.207 The representational composition of the Review Group evaluating implementation reports was agreed to remain essentially the same as the first Group208 but with individuals possibly varying.
The EU proposal for a NASCO performance review involving both internal and external reviewers,209 tabled at NASCO's Annual Meeting in June 2007, proved to be very contentious. The suggestion that the performance review be completed by 2010 was opposed by a number of Parties. While some Parties thought a performance review should be initiated on an urgent basis in light of UN Resolution 61/105,210 others felt NASCO's Next Steps Process, viewed as a form of internal review, should first be allowed to complete its course.
A compromise was finally reached. The Council decided that it would in the future undertake an additional external review, involving an experienced team of external and internal reviewers. Decisions on the timing and terms of reference for such a review were deferred to the 2008 Annual Meeting.211
Given NASCO's soft law approach in promoting the conservation and management of Atlantic salmon, formal dispute resolution procedures have been deemed unnecessary. The issue was raised by the Next Steps Working Group, which recommended that the Secretariat review dispute resolution arrangements used by other organizations with a view to determining their applicability to NASCO.212
As NASCO nears the 25-year milestone, the organization can be praised for voyaging beyond the constraints imposed by the dated Salmon Convention adopted in 1982. NASCO has urged Contracting Parties to implement the precautionary approach in the areas of fisheries management, aquaculture, and habitat protection and restoration. It has also encouraged critical review of its operations and has moved to strengthen approaches to implementation, NGO participation, and media communications.
However, a sea of challenges still confronts NASCO. Key challenges include putting precaution into practice, embracing the ecosystem approach, enhancing public participation, considering indigenous participation and rights, getting better grips on unreported catches, bringing St. Pierre and Miquelon into the NASCO fold, preventing escape of farmed salmon, ensuring implementation of existing commitments, reaching agreement on a performance review, and addressing dispute resolution.
Various trends in transboundary resource management stand out from the NASCO experience. They include a preference for moving incrementally and softly to adopt a principled approach, a hesitancy to amend the founding convention, a continuing tension between national sovereign interests and the appropriate functions and powers of a regional organization, and a growing recognition of the complex array of human uses beyond fisheries that need to be addressed.
The effectiveness of NASCO may be questioned for not stemming during its watch the serious decline of many North Atlantic salmon stocks. Wild salmon have disappeared from at least 209 river systems in Europe and North America since NASCO's establishment.213 Atlantic salmon in 32 rivers of the inner Bay of Fundy in Canada have been listed as endangered.214 In the United States, the Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment of Atlantic salmon was listed as endangered in December 2000, and total adult returns in 2004 to the eight rivers still supporting wild salmon populations were estimated to range from 60 to 113 individuals.215
The ultimate litmus test for gauging NASCO's effectiveness may prove to be whether NASCO succeeds in achieving wild salmon population recoveries. Regaining sustainable salmon populations across their North Atlantic range remains a distant shore. Rough voyaging likely lies ahead for NASCO in light of its limited abilities to counter the powerful political and economic currents surrounding aquacultural and coastal developments within national jurisdictions. The treacherous shoals of climate change and land-based pollution and activities threaten to damage or sink even the most valiant fisheries conservation measures. The retrofitting of NASCO from a transboundary fisheries management fixation to a broader ecosystem approach continues, but whether NASCO will be able to orchestrate ‘saving the salmon’ has yet to be answered.
1 Professor VanderZwaag is Canada Research Chair in Ocean Law and Governance at the Marine & Environmental Law Institute (MELI), Dalhousie University and co-chairs the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law's Specialist Group on Oceans, Coasts and Coral Reefs. Emily Pudden is a Research Assistant at MELI. The research support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through the project “Strengthening Canada's Regional Fisheries Management Arrangements in Light of Sustainability Principles” is gratefully acknowledged. This chapter attempts to be accurate as of 1 January 2008.
2 Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean (adopted 2 March 1982, entered into force 1 October 1983) CTS 1983/11 (Salmon Convention).
3 North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), Report of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization 2002–2003 (Edinburgh: NASCO, 2003), p. 4.
4 For a complete list of NASCO-accredited observer groups, see the NASCO Web site, at www.nasco.int, accessed 18 April 2007.
5 M.L. Windsor and P. Hutchinson, International Management of Atlantic Salmon, Salmo salar L., by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization, 1984–1994, Fisheries Management and Ecology, vol. 1 (1994), p. 31 at 31–32.
6 NASCO, Twenty-Year Milestones and Next Steps – A Vision for the Future (Edinburgh: NASCO, 2004), p. 3.
8 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (adopted 10 December 1982, entered into force 16 November 1994), 1833 UNTS 3, Arts. 56–57.
9 Ibid., Art. 66.
10 The ‘top 10 list’ provided is, of course, not exhaustive. For example, how to control the spread of the parasite Gyrodactylus salaris and sorting out the role for hatcheries in restoring threatened and endangered salmon populations are ongoing challenges. On the latter issue, see R.A. Myers et al., Hatcheries and Endangered Salmon, Science vol. 303, no. 5666 (2004), p. 1, 980.
11 Salmon Convention, supra note 2.
12 Internet Guide to International Fisheries Law, International Organizations Compendium: North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization online, at www.intfish.net/orgs/fisheries/nasco.htm, accessed 20 April 2007.
13 Salmon Convention, supra note 2, Art. 1.
14 Ibid., Art. 2.
15 Ibid., Art. 3.
16 Ibid., Arts. 4–6.
17 Ibid., Arts. 7–11.
18 Ibid., Art. 12.
19 Ibid., Art. 4(1)(a).
20 Ibid., Art. 4.
22 Ibid., Arts. 5(1), 6(2).
23 Ibid., Art. 12.
24 Ibid., Art. 10(7)(8).
25 Ibid., Arts. 7–8.
26 Ibid., Arts. 3(4)(a), 10(1)(a).
27 NASCO, About NASCO: Structure, supra note 4.
28 Salmon Convention, supra note 2, Art. 3(4)(b).
29 NASCO, About NASCO: Structure, supra note 4.
30 Salmon Convention, supra note 2, Art. 3(4)(c).
31 Ibid., Arts. 7(1)(c) and 8(b).
32 Ibid., Art. 13. The opt-out procedure has not been used to date. Malcolm Windsor, Secretary, NASCO, Personal communication, 23 May 2007.
33 Ibid., Art. 11(3).
34 Ibid., Art. 11(2).
35 See further, S. Chase, Closing the North American Mixed-Stock Commercial Fishery for Wild Atlantic Salmon, in Derek Mills (ed.), Salmon at the Edge (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), pp. 84–92.
36 Ibid., p. 91. A new Greenland Conservation Agreement continuing the commercial salmon moratorium was concluded in June 2007. See Atlantic Salmon Federation, New Atlantic Salmon Conservation Agreement - Safer Ocean Migration Ensured, online at htpp://www.asf.ca/news.php?id=99 (accessed 30 December 2007).
37 West Greenland Commission (WGC), Regulatory Measure for the Fishing for Salmon at West Greenland for 2006, with possible application in 2007 and 2008, WGC(06)6, in NASCO, Report of the Twenty-Third Annual Meeting of the Commissions (Saariselkä, Finland, 5–9 June 2006); NASCO, Regulatory Measures – West Greenland Salmon Fishery online, at www.nasco.int/greenlandmeasures.htm, accessed 17 December 2007.
38 See further, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean (Basic Instrument for the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization) (CK Washington, DC: NMFS, 2005), pp. 11–12, online at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ia/intlagree/docs/NASCO%20%2005.doc, accessed 9 May 2007.
39 NASCO, supra note 3, 12.
40 North-East Atlantic Commission, Decision regarding the Salmon Fishery in Faroese Waters 2007, with Possible Application in 2008 and 2009, NEA(06)6, in NASCO, Report, supra note 37.
41 NASCO, supra note 3, 12.
42 Salmon Convention, supra note 2, Art. 7.
43 Ibid., Art. 9.
44 Ibid., Art. 9(a).
45 See for example, NASCO, Request for Scientific Advice from ICES, CNL(05)12, Annex 13 of Report of the Twenty-Second Annual Meeting of the Council (Vichy, France, 6–10 June 2005) CNL(05)50.
46 NASCO, supra note 6, p. 5.
47 NASCO, NASCO – The Past, Present, and Future (tabled by the United States) CNL(04)35, Annex 31 of Report of the Twenty-First Annual Meeting of the Council (Reykjavik, Iceland, 7–11 June 2004) CNL(04)50.
48 NASCO, Protocol Open for Signature by States Not Parties to the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean (1992) CNL(92)53.
49 NASCO. Resolution of the Council of NASCO at its Ninth Annual Meeting, Washington DC, 9–12 June 1992: Fishing for Salmon on the High Seas (1992), CNL(92)54, s. 5.
50 Ibid., ss. 2, 4.
51 Ibid., s. 3.
52 NMFS, supra note 38, p. 5.
53 Twenty-Year Milestones, supra note 6, p. 5.
54 NMFS, supra note 38, p. 5.
55 NASCO, Resolution by the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean Concerning St. Pierre and Miquelon (2000), CNL(00)59; NASCO, Resolution Concerning Cooperation with St. Pierre and Miquelon (2002), CNL(02)47.
56 NASCO, St. Pierre and Miquelon Salmon Fishery, CNL(06)23, Annex 24 of NASCO, Report, supra note 37, CNL(06)46; NASCO, St. Pierre and Miquelon Salmon Fishery, CNL(07)20.
57 See, for example, NASCO, Report, supra note 37.
58 Ibid. For a further discussion, see notes 201–204 and accompanying text.
59 See, e.g., D. VanderZwaag, The Precautionary Principle and Marine Environmental Protection: Slippery Shores, Rough Seas, and Rising Normative Tides, Ocean Development & International Law, vol. 33 issue 2 (2002) p. 165; S. Marr, The Precautionary Principle in the Law of the Sea: Modern Decision Making in International Law (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 2003).
60 NASCO, Agreement on Adoption of a Precautionary Approach (1998), CNL(98)46.
61 NASCO, Action Plan for Application of the Precautionary Approach (1999), CNL(99)48.
62 NASCO, supra note 60, s.2.
63 NASCO, Decision Structure for Management of North Atlantic Salmon Fisheries (2002), CNL31.332.
64 NASCO, supra note 3, p. 6.
66 NASCO defines a conservation limit as ‘the spawning stock level that produces maximum sustainable yield’; see NASCO, supra note 60, s.6.
67 NASCO, Progress with Application of the Decision Structure for Management of North Atlantic Salmon Fisheries – Returns by the Parties, CNL(05)16, Annex 23 of NASCO, supra note 45.
69 NASCO, Unreported Catches – Returns by the Parties, CNL(05)22, Annex 30 of NASCO, supra note 45 (Unreported Catches), p. 512.
70 NASCO, supra note 61, s.4.
71 NASCO, Minimum Standard for Catch Statistics Adopted by the Council at its Tenth Annual Meeting, 7–11 June 1993, Edinburgh, UK (1993), CNL(93)51.
72 NMFS, supra note 38, 5.
73 NASCO, supra note 71.
74 NASCO, supra note 61, s.4.
77 NASCO, supra note 69.
78 NASCO, Report, supra note 37, s.5.5. For a further discussion, see notes 197–200 and accompanying text.
79 NMFS, supra note 38, 9.
80 NASCO, supra note 61, s.9.
82 NASCO, supra note 3, 8.
83 NASCO, supra note 45, s.6.6.
84 NMFS, supra note 38, p. 9.
85 NASCO, supra note 60, s.7(a),(g).
86 NASCO, NASCO Guidelines on the Use of Stock Rebuilding Programmes in the Context of the Precautionary Management of Salmon Stocks (2004), CNL(04)55.
87 Ibid., ss.3–4.
88 Ibid., s.4.
89 Ibid., s.6.
90 Ibid., s.9.
91 Ibid., s.6.
92 Ibid., s.8.
93 Ibid., s.5.
94 NASCO, Guidelines for Incorporating Social and Economic Factors in Decisions under the Precautionary Approach (2004), CNL(04)57, s.4.
95 Ibid., s.7.
96 NASCO, Report of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Meeting of the Council, Bar Harbor, Maine, USA, 4–8 June 2007, CNL(07)58, s.6.4.
97 NASCO, Resolution by the Parties to the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean to Minimise Impacts from Aquaculture, Introductions and Transfers, and Transgenics on the Wild Salmon Stocks: The Williamsburg Resolution (adopted June 2003, amended June 2004 and June 2006), CNL(06)48.
98 For example, Resolution to Minimize Impact from Salmon Aquaculture on the Wild Salmon Stocks, CNL(94)53 and Guidelines for Actions on Transgenic Salmon, CNL(97)48.
99 NASCO, supra note 97, Art. 5.
100 Ibid., Art. 6.
101 NASCO, General Measures to Minimise Impacts, Annex 2 of NASCO, supra note 97, ss.1.2–1.3.
102 NASCO, Guidelines on Containment of Farm Salmon, CNL(01)53, Annex 3 of NASCO, supra note 97.
103 Ibid., s.3.1.
104 Ibid., ss.5.3–5.4.
105 Ibid., ss.6.2–6.3.
106 Ibid., ss.7–8.
107 NASCO, Guidelines for Stocking Atlantic Salmon, Annex 4 of NASCO, supra note 97, s.2.
108 Ibid., s.3(B)(1).
109 NASCO, NASCO Guidelines for Action on Transgenic Salmonids, CNL(04)41, Annex 5 of NASCO, supra note 97.
111 NASCO, North American Commission Protocols for the Introduction and Transfer of Salmonids: Summary of Protocols by Zone, NAC(94)14, Appendix 1 of NASCO, supra note 97.
112 Ibid., s.1.
113 Ibid., s.3.1.1.
114 Ibid., s.4.2.
115 NASCO, Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and USA, NAC(05)7, Appendix 2 of NASCO, supra note 97, s.C.
116 NASCO, NASCO Plan of Action for the Application of the Precautionary Approach to the Protection and Restoration of Atlantic Salmon Habitat (2001), CNL(01)51.
117 Ibid., s.3.
118 The Atlantic Salmon Rivers Database is available on the NASCO Web site at: <www.nasco.int/asd/> [accessed 2 May 2007].
119 NASCO, supra note 116, s.5.
120 Ibid., s.3.
121 Ibid., s.5.
122 NASCO, Use of an Inventory of Salmon Rivers in the Protection and Restoration of Salmon Habitat, Annex 2 of NASCO, supra note 116.
123 NASCO, supra note 116, s.5.
124 Aluminum's solubility increases exponentially as pH declines below 7.0 and exposure to pH less than 4.5 can cause plasma ion loss and death of Atlantic salmon in freshwater. See NMFS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Recovery Plan for the Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment of Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) (Silver Spring, MD: NMFS, 2005) pp. 1-29-1-32.
125 NASCO, Impacts of Acid Rain – 2005 Report (tabled by Canada), CNL(05)47, Annex 34 of NASCO, supra note 45.
126 NASCO, Report, supra note 37, s.7.8.
128 NASCO, supra note 116, s.2.
129 Pursuant to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, eight protocols that identify measures for cutting air pollution emissions have been negotiated under UNECE auspices. See UNECE, History of the Convention, online at www.unece.org/env/lrtap/lrtap_h1.htm, accessed 24 May 2007.
130 For example, the Agreement between Canada and the United States on air quality (adopted and entered into force 13 March 1991) CTS 1991/3 as amended by the Protocol (adopted and in force 7 December 2000) CTS 2000/26.
131 NASCO, Research Board, online at: <www.nasco.int/> [accessed 14 June 2007].
132 NASCO, Rules of Procedure for the International Atlantic Salmon Research Board, ICR(06)10, Annex 6 of Annex 12 of NASCO, Report, supra note 37.
135 International Atlantic Salmon Research Board (IASRB), Inventory of Research Relating to Salmon Mortality in the Sea, online at www.nasco.int/sas/research.htm, accessed 2 May 2007.
136 NASCO, Report of the Fifth Meeting of the International Atlantic Salmon Research Board, CNL(06)11, Annex 12 of NASCO, Report, supra note 37, s.3.
137 NASCO, supra note 3, p. 11.
139 NASCO, supra note 6, p. 10.
140 IASRB, SALSEA: An International Cooperative Research Programme on Salmon at Sea, SAL(04)5,1 online at www.nasco.int/sas/pdf/salsea_programme.pdf, accessed 9 May 2007.
142 For a detailed account of the Work Packages, see ibid.
143 NASCO, Report of the ‘Next Steps for NASCO’ Working Group, CNL(05)14, Annex 15 of NASCO, supra note 45.
144 NASCO, Report of the ‘Next Steps for NASCO’ Task Force, CNL(06)16, Annex 15 of NASCO, Report, supra note 37.
145 NASCO, Report, supra note 37, s.6.2.
146 NASCO, Strategic Approach for NASCO's ‘Next Steps’, CNL(05)49, Annex 16 of NASCO, supra note 45, p. 292.
147 NASCO, supra note 143, ss.4.12–4.13.
148 NASCO, supra note 144, Annex 3.
149 NASCO, Terms of Reference for the 2006/2007 Ad Hoc Review Group, CNL(06)39, Annex 16 of NASCO, Report, supra note 37. For a further discussion, see notes 205–208 and accompanying text.
150 NASCO, supra note 144, Annex 5.
151 NASCO, Report on Progress with Implementing the Strategic Approach for NASCO's Next Steps (2006), CNL(06)14.
152 NASCO, Report of the ICES Advisory Committee on Fishery Management, CNL(07)7, p. 11.
154 NASCO, Revised Conditions for Attendance by Observers at NASCO Meetings following amendment at the Twenty-Third Annual Meeting in June 2006, CNL(06)49.
155 NASCO, supra note 151.
156 Conditions for Attendance by Observers for NASCO's Accredited Non-Government Organizations at meetings of the NASCO/North Atlantic Salmon Farming Industry Liaison Group, SLG(07)12. The observer status will apply for a trial period of two years.
157 NASCO, supra note 151.
158 NASCO, supra note 146, p. 298.
159 NASCO, Cooperation with Other International Organizations on Issues of Mutual Interest (2006), CNL(06)11.
160 NASCO, supra note 60, s. 7(b).
161 NASCO, supra note 152, 32.
162 Ibid., pp. 61–62.
163 See Section 4.6 of this chapter.
164 NASCO, supra note 97, Art.. 3.
165 NASCO, supra note 116, s. 3.
166 D.L. VanderZwaag, G. Chao, and C. Covan, Canadian Aquaculture and the Principles of Sustainable Development: Gauging the Law and Policy Tides and Charting a Course, in D.L. VanderZwaag and Gloria Chao (eds.), Aquaculture Law and Policy: Towards principled Access and Operations (London: Routledge, 2006) 49.
167 Ibid., p. 80.
168 S.C. 1992, c. 37.
169 Section 4 of the Act was amended in 2003 to include as one of the purposes to ‘ensure that projects are considered in a careful and precautionary manner before federal authorities take action in connection with them, in order to ensure such projects do not cause significant adverse environmental effects’. An Act to Amend the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, S.C. 2003, c. 9, s. 2(1).
170 VanderZwaag, Chao, and Covan, supra note 166, pp. 82–83.
171 See D.R. Rothwell and D.L. VanderZwaag, The Sea Change Towards Principled Oceans Governance, in D.R. Rothwell and D.L. VanderZwaag (eds.), Towards Principled Oceans Governance: Australian and Canadian Approaches and Challenges (London: Routledge, 2006), p. 3 at 6.
172 For discussion on the multiple implications of an ecosystem approach, see Report of the Secretary-General, Oceans and the Law of the Sea, UNGA A/61/63 (9 March 2006), pp. 38–45, and Report on the Work of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea at its seventh meeting, UNGA A/61/156 (17 July 2006).
173 For a review of the fast evolutions, see S.M. Garcia et al., The Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries: Issues, Terminology, Principles, Institutional Foundations, Implementation and Outlook, FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 443 (Rome: UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 2003).
174 Salmon Convention, supra note 2, Art. 2.
175 On the need for NASCO to develop a special initiative focusing political and financial attention towards endangered Atlantic salmon populations, see W. Carter et al., NASCO's Future: A Vision Statement (Atlantic Salmon Federation and World Wildlife Fund: St. Andrews, New Brunswick, and Washington, DC, 2004), pp. 16–17.
176 For example, at the 2005 Twenty-Second Annual Meeting of NASCO in Vichy, France, representatives of ICES, the International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission (IBSFC), the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC), and the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMC) participated. NASCO, supra note 159, p. 1.
178 That is, North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission, IBSFC, NASCO, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, NAMMCO, and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. NASCO, supra note 159.
179 Ibid., pp. 1–2.
180 Ibid., p. 2.
181 For example, NASCO is quite liberal in the time within which an NGO must apply to attend meetings (no less than 15 days before the meeting of the Council), and the NASCO Secretary is granted discretion to decide whether the objectives of the organization are compatible with those of NASCO. NASCO, supra note 154. For a review of participation approaches in other regional fisheries organizations, see G.M. Wiser, Transparency in 21st Century Fisheries Management: Options for Public Participation to Enhance Conservation and Management of International Fish Stocks, Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy, vol. 4, issue 2 (2001), p. 95.
182 The possible need to provide resources in order to facilitate meaningful and equitable participation in international forums is raised by the Almaty Guidelines on Promoting the Application of the Principles of the Aarhus Convention in International Forums. See Report of the Second Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, ECE/MP.PP/2005/2/Add.5 (20 June 2005), Annex, para. 18.
183 For a review of some environmental regimes permitting NGOs and individuals to make formal complaints and trigger review procedures through, for example, compliance committees, see J. Ebbesson, Public Participation, in D. Bodansky, J. Brunee, and E Hey (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 693–696.
184 For example, more than 40 First Nations and other Aboriginal organizations fish for Atlantic salmon in eastern Canada. See Canada – NASCO Implementation Plan (2006) in NASCO, Compilation of Implementation Plans, CNL(07)22, p. 187.
185 For reviews, see D. Sanders, Indigenous Rights: Implications for Aquaculture, in VanderZwaag and Chao, supra note 166, and Russell Lawrence Barsh, Indigenous Peoples, in Bodansky, Brunee, and Hey, supra note 183.
186 For example, within the regional Arctic Council, indigenous organizations have been granted the status of Permanent Participants to ensure full participation but stopping short of voting rights. See T. Koivurova and L. Heinämäki, The participation of indigenous peoples in international norm-making in the Arctic, Polar Record, vol. 42, no. 221 (2006), p. 101. Involvement of Greenland's Home Rule Government, of course, does represent indigenous interests in Greenland.
187 NASCO, Unreported Catches – Returns by the Parties, CNL(07)10, p. 1.
188 NASCO, Special Session on Unreported Catches Tabled by Denmark (in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland), CNL(07)49.
189 Personal notes by Professor VanderZwaag, who attended the 2007 Annual Meeting.
190 NASCO, supra note 96, s. 4.6.
191 NASCO, St. Pierre and Miquelon Salmon Fishery, CNL(07)20, 1.
192 NASCO, supra note 96, s. 6.6.
195 NASCO, supra note 97, Annex 3.
196 See note 156 and accompanying text.
197 Implementation Plan Norway, in NASCO, supra note 184, pp. 238–239.
198 NASCO, Report, supra note 37, 210.
199 NMFS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, supra note 124, pp. 1–80.
200 Escape prevention, of course, is not the only challenge surrounding aquaculture, with other concerns beingparasite and disease spread from farmed salmon to wild stocks and the potential use of transgenic fish in aquaculture production. NASCO, supra note 6, p. 11. See also L.P. Hansen and M. Windsor, Interactions Between Aquaculture and Wild Stocks of Atlantic Salmon and Other Diadromous Fish Species: Science and Management, Challenges and Solutions, Special Report 34 (CITY: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, 2006). [Link]
201 For example, among other strengthenings, the guidelines might set out more specific guidance on technical standards for net pens as well as training requirements for escape prevention and installation of security systems and could urge the third-party audits to verify escape preparedness. See T.K. Barry and D.L. VanderZwaag, Preventing Salmon Escapes from Aquaculture in Canada and the USA: Limited International Coordinates, Divergent Regulatory Currents and Possible Future Courses, RECIEL, vol. 16, no. 1 (2007), p. 58 at 73.
202 Although NASCO has favoured the latter policy approach through its Guidelines, the state of Washington has embraced a prohibition-on-escapes approach and Alaska has banned marine-cage farming of salmon. See Barry and VanderZwaag, ibid. 201, pp. 69–71.
203 NASCO itself has identified the need to determine whether internationally agreed regulations or standards should be pursued for aquaculture, introductions and transfers, and transgenics. NASCO, supra note 6, 15.
204 NASCO, supra note 96, s. 6.2(b).
205 Report of the Ad Hoc Review Group on Implementation Plans, IP(07)4, 7.
206 Report of the Ad Hoc Review Group on the Parties' Implementation Plans, CNL(07)15, para. 3.
207 NASCO, Fisheries Management Focus Areas, CNL(07)47.
208 See note 149 and accompanying text.
209 NASCO, EU Proposal for a Performance Review, CNL(07)43.
210 Paragraph 73 of the 2006 UN Resolution 61/105 on Sustainable Fisheries urges states to undertake performance reviews of regional fisheries management organizations and arrangements ‘on an urgent basis’. NASCO, Information Note from the European Union, Extract from UN Resolution 61/105, adopted on 8 December 2006 Regarding Performance Review, CNL(07)41.
211 NASCO, supra note 96, s. 5.3.
212 NASCO, supra note 143.
213 Carter et al., supra note 175, p. 16.
214 NASCO, supra note 184, p. 184.
215 NMFS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, supra note 124, p. ix.
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