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From the wheelhouse
Participation in the
North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization
Richard Nadeau

Conservation of wild Atlantic salmon stocks became a priority during the 1970s with the rapid growth of commercial fisheries of this species on the west coast of Greenland and in northern Norway. The countries of the North Atlantic therefore adopted, on October 1, 1983, the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean, thus creating the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization. Better known by its acronym NASCO, this organization was formed to conserve, restore, enhance and rationally manage Atlantic salmon.

Canada, represented by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, has been part of NASCO since its inception. Other members of the organization are the United States, Denmark (on behalf of Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Norway, the Russian Federation and the European Union, which represents several member countries such as Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Finland. NASCO also includes 35 accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Most significant for Canada is the Atlantic Salmon Federation, which plays a leading role in the conservation of this important resource in North America.
As head of the Canadian delegation, I had the privilege of representing Canada's interests at the 29th Annual Meeting of NASCO, held from June 5 to 8, 2012, in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the headquarters of the organization are located. As recent scientific data indicates that salmon stocks in the North Atlantic remain at historically low levels, Canada's main objective was to ensure that commercial fisheries on the west coast of Greenland would not resume, as stocks in this region are mainly from Canadian rivers. The Annual Meeting was a success. It led, among other things, to an agreement that maintains fishing levels on Greenland's west coast at 20 tons annually until 2014, for domestic food needs only. A moratorium on commercial fisheries in the Faroe Islands in the Northeast Atlantic was also renewed.
In Canada, it is now possible to see the result of joint conservation efforts. The latest scientific assessments of adult wild salmon returns show an improvement in 2011. However, considerable work remains to be done to achieve the return rate of the 1980s and early 1990s. We are continuing our efforts by collaborating with various levels of government, implementing conservation measures and appropriate management, ensuring partnerships with groups dedicated to salmon conservation, and upholding our international commitment through NASCO.

Richard Nadeau
Regional Director General
Quebec Region
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