EC Fisheries Science Group opens its doors to the industry Published: 12 June, 2006
FOR the first time, the EC committee which generates advice on how Europes fisheries should be managed has opened its doors to industry observers.
Last week, industry representatives were allowed to attend the full session of the meeting of the influential Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF) in the northern Italian town of Ispra whereas before only limited attendance was permitted.
Representing the Scottish Fishermens Federation (SFF) was Scottish Whitefish Producers Association chairman Mike Park who was able to see at first hand how the committee considers the various elements of catch and fishing effort statistical information provided by Member States.
Recommendations from the STECF will play a major role later this year in the EC decision-making process on fishing effort management, including the cod recovery plan.
Bertie Armstrong, SFF chief executive said: The meeting was the second in a group of three and it has been very helpful to see inside the process.
There are, however, some concerns. These include the thin and fragmentary nature of some of the information considered and the perception of some of the scientists on the social trends within the industry and its communities.
We are also concerned about the practical effect of regulations resulting from the committees advice and the sheer difficulty of making sense of data in the now extremely complex framework of gear and technical regulations which govern the European industry.
For these reasons, the ability to see at first hand the difficulties and possible misconceptions faced by the committee and have the opportunity to give practical feedback represents movement in the right direction. It is essential that the people who are ultimately affected by these decisions have the opportunity to see how they are arrived at.
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