Baltic RAC Executive Committee has confirmed the first working programme –

Baltic RAC Executive Committee has confirmed the first working programme Published:  20 March, 2006

LAST Wednesday the Baltic Sea Regional Advisory Council (BS-RAC) was officially founded. About 85 representatives from organisations and authorities participated in the first general assembly in Copenhagen.

It was opened by the Danish Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hans Christian Schmidt, who described the primary role of the BS-RAC to establish a real dialogue between fishermen and other stakeholders, the scientific advisors and the European Commission.

“The BS-RAC is unique because it represents all interests in the food chain from fishermen to consumers around the Baltic Sea”, Hans Christian Schmidt said. He suggested that the RAC continues the tradition of close cooperation regarding fishing interests around the Baltic Sea.

Jörgen Holmquist, Director General in the Commission’s DG Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, also addressed the general assembly. He stated that the RACs in place were already having an influence in the common fisheries policy. And he also stressed that European Commission will support the RAC but its success will be a common responsibility.

“The first years will be a learning process where we learn to work together. But I am convinced that if RACs provide credible advice, they will have a major impact in the Common Fisheries’ policy”, Jörgen Holmquist said.

At the general assembly Reine Johansson, former Chairman of the Swedish Fishermen’s Federation, was elected as the first Chairman of the BS-RAC. He will chair the council which is intended to give advice to the European Commission on fishing topics.

Also the Executive Committee of the RAC was set at the general assembly. It consists of 24 members, two thirds of them representing the fisheries’ sector whereas the last part comes from other interest groups. Also among the members of the RAC the same proportion of representatives from the commercial fishing industry and the other organisations is intended.

The day after the general assembly, the elected Executive Committee met for the first time. On the agenda was the first working programme and other decisions. The European Commission participated and discussed the present fisheries work programme on Baltic issues, which will focus on the Baltic TACs (total allowable catches) and a multiannual plan for cod stocks in the Baltic Sea.

It was also decided to establish working groups on demersal fisheries, pelagic fisheries and salmon and sea trout fisheries.

The Executive Committee will have its second meeting from 19-20 June in Copenhagen where one of the important themes on the agenda is the ICES advice for the Baltic stocks. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.