North Western Waters RAC voices disappointment over cod review timing – Fishupdate.com

North Western Waters RAC voices disappointment over cod review timing Published:  03 July, 2006

THE North Western Waters Regional Advisory Council (RAC)

Executive Committee has voiced disappointment that

no movement will be made on the EU’s cod recovery programme

until next year.

But meeting in Galway, they agreed to recommend a ‘steady as she goes approach’ to the European Commission so that the industry is not as they describe it, “further penalised” in December TAC and quota negotiations.

The North Western RAC were also “adamant” that the working groups of the West of Scotland and the Irish Sea would continue to develop alternatives to the recovery programme for presentation to the Commission in December.

A recommendation from the Irish South and West Fisheries Producer Organisation (ISWFO) to lift the ban on the tuna driftnet was also discussed in detail. The ISWFO proposed that a trial be carried out on the tuna driftnet fishery to assess if pingers may deter the cetacean bycatch, which was the basis for the initial ban. Although many in the meeting supported the proposal it was agreed that this issue would be “parked” until a practical and workable pinger was developed.

However members were informed that due to the hard work and perseverance of the North West RAC (NWWRAC) a more recent ban was lifted on June 30. Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, (NFFO) briefed members on the outcome of two meetings between NWWRAC representatives and the EU Commission in the spring of this year. He informed the meeting that the Commission followed the advice of the NWWRAC and implemented a two step approach in lifting the ban. Hence the ban on the deepwater gillnet hake fishery was lifted on the 30thof June 2006. Furthermore the NWWRAC proposal to collect data on these fisheries was implemented and data is currently being collected by onboard observers to be assessed in the up and coming STECF. It is proposed that this data be used to develop appropriate management schemes for deepwater static gear fisheries.

Daniel Lefèvre, chairman of the working group for the English Channel , reminded the meeting that this RAC had responsibility to not only the quota managed species but also the non-quota species and proposed that the NWWRAC commence serious work to ensure that non-quota species such as Scallop, Crustaceans and Sea Bass were being fished responsibly by all. The members agreed that as a start a meeting dedicated to Scallop Management should be held in September.

Hans Lassen of ICES and Poul Degnbol of the EU Commission joined the members of the NWWRAC in the afternoon to thrash out stakeholder access to the scientific process. Both scientists acknowledged that there was a need for greater access of the industry to the processes of ICES and informed the meeting that from January 2006 members of each of the RACs would be invited to take part in various ICES scientific working groups. In addition the NWWRAC was informed that progress was being made to ensure that scientists would be available to attend future meetings of all RACs.

This was followed by a presentation on the status of the proposed Technical Conservation Measures regulation was made by the EU Commission. The Commission informed the meeting that this proposal would be available in late July and that all RACs would have ample opportunity to study the text and to respond to the Commission over the coming months.

Finally the meeting wrapped up with a “generous” offer from the Spanish delegation who proposed the provision of a member of staff to the NWWRAC to work with the secretariat in Dublin. Considering the mounting workload of the NWWRAC this offer was kindly accepted by the members and it is hoped that this person will commence work in Dublin as soon as possible.

The next meeting of the NWWRAC will be the General Assembly which will take place in Fishmongers Hall in London on October 9. For details of all meetings or indeed to attend any meetings please contact the NWWRAC secretariat at BIM, Crofton Rd, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland, nwwrac@bim.ie or visit www.nwwrac.org .

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