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Russia couldn’t be kicked out of NAFO ‘overnight’ (President of organization himself is Russian)

The executive secretary of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), which sets/enforces quotas of migratory fish stocks outside Canada's 200-mile limit on/near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, says it is possible to kick Russia out of the organization as a result of its invasion of Ukraine.

The view of a Canadian Coast Guard ship outside the 200-mile limit from the deck of a Faroese longliner. 2021 photo.

But Fred Kingston told that such an action would be unprecedented, and would require one of NAFO's 12-member countries (like Canada) to request a vote, which would take months and eventually require a two-thirds majority

As it happens, the President of NAFO and Chair of the Commission is is Temur Tairov of the Russian Federation, elected in September 2021.

As it also happens, Canada's commissioner to NAFO is Keith Sullivan, President of the FFAW-Unifor.

SEA-NL posed this question on Monday (Feb. 28th): Should Russia be kicked out of NAFO; its trawler fleet banned from fishing outside Cdn waters?

The overwhelming response was yes, Russia should be thrown out immediately.

Kicking Russia out of NAFO, and banning its offshore draggers from the area could be another message to President Vladimir Putin that his invasion of the Ukraine is unacceptable.

Offshore factory-freezer trawlers from Russia will have access to thousands of tonnes of fish this year on the continental shelf outside the imaginary line that is Canada's 200-mile limit.

Quotas include 9,137 tonnes of redfish on the Flemish Cap, 5,207 tonnes of the redfish quota in fishing zones 3LN, 6,500 tonnes of the redfish quota in 3O, 1,167 tonnes of skate in 3LNO, 1,500 tonnes of turbot in 3LNO, plus smaller amounts of cod, flounder, hake, and squid.

NAFO is generally seen as toothless/useless, unable to enforce the quotas it sets.

The owners/skippers of foreign trawlers cited for illegal fishing are not charged in Canadian courts. Rather, under NAFO rules it’s up to the vessel’s home country to follow through with penalties/prosecution.

Regardless, foreign vessels are often accused of pillaging the Grand Banks, including this post from Oct. 29th.

'Pirate trawlers’ destroying Grand Banks under DFO’s nose, says Captain of Faroe Islands longliner

Ottawa has consistently refused to reveal information on "notices of infringement" issued to foreign draggers on the high seas, saying the release of such information would be damaging to international relations.

Newfoundland and Labrador relations obviously being secondary.

Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director,


To read more about SEA-NL, and for owner-operators to join please visit our website or e-mail

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