About Us

About the Pelagic AC

The Pelagic AC engages with a wide range of stakeholders to offer credible, scientific, and consensus-based advice to the European Commission and relevant EU Member States on the management of pelagic fisheries. Our work covers pelagic stocks across all European sea-basins, excluding those in the Baltic Sea and Mediterranean Sea.

We are one of the 11 Advisory Councils for fisheries in the European Union, established following the 2002 review of the Common Fisheries Policy, which provide a means of safeguarding the ongoing involvement of stakeholders in the development of fisheries policy.  

The Pelagic AC was inaugurated in August 2005, and is made up of a General Assembly, an Executive Committee and two Working Groups. These bodies function as forums for consultation and the drafting of stakeholder-led advice which, in turn, informs pelagic fisheries policy at the EU level.

General Assembly

All members of the Pelagic AC are part of the General Assembly, which is responsible for appointing an Executive Committee to oversee and approve the work of the organisation. 

Members fall into one of two categories: ‘Sector Organisations’ or ‘Other Interest Groups’ (OIGs). Representatives of the Pelagic AC Sector Organisations include commercial vessel owners, producer organisations, processors and traders, while the Other Interest Groups category is made up of environmental NGOs, recreational fishermen, consumer representatives and civil society. The General Assembly meets annually in October.

View our General Assembly members

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is tasked with formally adopting the recommendations developed by the Pelagic AC. Its membership represents a 60:40 percent balance between the Sector Organisations and Other Interest Groups. 

Both the Executive Committee and the General Assembly are currently chaired by Sean O’Donoghue of Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation Ltd, with Gonçalo Carvalho of Sciaena as vice-chair.

The Executive Committee meets four times per year.

View our Executive Committee members

Working Groups & Focus Groups

The Working Groups provide forums for discussion and consultation on key species and topics relevant to pelagic fisheries management. There are two Working Groups within the Pelagic AC: Working Group I (chaired by Esben Sverdrup-Jensen, Danish Pelagic Producers Organisation), and Working Group II (chaired by Jérôme Jourdain, Union des Armateurs à la Peche de France). While both groups consist of members of the General Assembly, they consider and prepare advice on different fish stocks.

Working Group I Stocks:

  • Atlanto-Scandian herring
  • North Sea Autumn Spawning herring/3A herring
  • Herring in VIa and VIIb,c
  • Celtic Sea herring
  • Blue Whiting
  • Boarfish

Working Group II Stocks:

  • Northeast Atlantic mackerel
  • Western Horse mackerel
  • Southern Horse mackerel
  • North Sea Horse mackerel
  • Greater silver smelt
  • Sprat in 6 and 7

Advice developed by the Working Groups is presented to the Executive Committee for approval. Once endorsed, it is submitted to the European Commission and Member States for consideration. 

The Working Groups may be supported by a number of Focus Groups, established to discuss specific stocks, topics or legislation. 

View our Working Group members

Rules of procedure and reimbursement form

Further information on procedural matters and reimbursement rules may be accessed below.

Rules of procedure Reimbursement form

Management Team and Secretariat

The work of the Pelagic AC is supported by the Secretariat. The Secretariat staff currently consists of Anne-Marie Kats and Merel Barbosa. The Secretariat is based in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands. 

The Management Team is responsible for making strategic decisions on behalf of the Pelagic AC, and supporting the Secretariat with administrative, management, and operational matters. The Management Team is composed of the Chairpersons of the Executive Committee and General Assembly, the Chairs of the Working Groups, the Head of Secretariat, and the Executive Secretary of the Pelagic AC.

Sean O'Donoghue

General Assembly and Executive Committee Chairman

Gonçalo Carvalho

General Assembly and Executive Committee vice Chairman (and Ecosystem Focus Group Chairman)

Esben Sverdrup-Jensen

Working Group I Chairman

Jérôme Jourdain

Working Group II Chairman

Tim Heddema

Head of Pelagic AC Secretariat

Anne-Marie Kats

Executive Secretary
(Pelagic AC Secretariat)

Merel Barbosa

Assistant Secretary
(Pelagic AC Secretariat)

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