Advice and Recommendations

The Pelagic AC provides credible, scientific, and consensus-based advice to inform pelagic fisheries policy, both upon the request of the European Commission and Member States, and on its own initiative. All advice and recommendations are developed and approved by the members of the Pelagic AC. 

Our advice — and responses to it — may be accessed below.

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Name Summary Year Downloads
Follow-up on the publication of the report on the evaluation of compliance with the landing obligation for mackerel in NS and NWW 2015-2017 and ongoing review

The regional groups are currently reviewing the evaluation of the compliance with the landing obligation for mackerel after the first report published in 2020. The PelAC expressed in several letters its great disappointment over EFCA and the regional groups’ refusal to publish the full report. While the PelAC’s request for the publication of this first report still stands, the ongoing review of the evaluation by the regional groups is an opportunity to rectify this situation and ensure full transparency. Once the review will be completed, the PelAC urges the High-Level regional groups to authorise and instruct the EFCA to publish not only the executive summary but also the integral report, regardless of its conclusions.

2022 Letter to Scheveningen MS Group Letter to SWW MS Group Letter to NWW MS Group
EU reaction to unilateral decisions from Norway and Faroe Islands on quota for the Northeast Atlantic mackerel and consequent severe risk of overfishing

Both the Faroe Islands and Norway unilaterally set own quotas for total catches of Mackerel in the Northeast Atlantic. The combined TAC for these two nations now amounts to almost 55% of the recommended annual TAC.

In light of these irresponsible unilateral decisions, which go against all the efforts of the EU and its fleet to sustainably manage fish stocks based on the best possible scientific advice, the PelAC urges the European Commission and the Council of the European Union to take immediate and decisive actions to stop Norway and the Faroe Islands from another year of massive overfishing of this valuable stock.

Finally, the PelAC remains committed to a long-term sustainable management strategy for mackerel and recalls the need for the EU and Coastal States to work towards a management tool considered precautionary by ICES.

2022 Letter to COM
ICES draft stakeholder engagement strategy – PelAC comments

At the occasion of the MIACO meeting of 22 June, ICES presented the draft stakeholder engagement strategy and requested input from stakeholders. The Pelagic Advisory Council (PelAC) participated in this meeting and then discussed the draft stakeholder engagement strategy at its Executive Committee meeting on 13 July. The comments were written in a letter to ICES.

2022 Letter to ICES
Notification to the Advisory Councils of relevant meetings

Since their establishment under the Common Fisheries Policy as far back as 2005, the Advisory Councils have grown not only in number, but also in reach and in coverage of thematic issues. Recent years we have seen the introduction of wide-ranging policies by the European Commission, for example the Green Deal and its related strategies,  the ACs are the ideal contact points to reach out to hundreds of stakeholders at the same time.

Unfortunately, is has become apparent that the invitation to meetings does not seem to extend into all parts of DG MARE with the result that the ACs have been left out of important meetings in the past. We would be grateful if the Advisory Councils could be notified as part of the routine scheduling of MARE events.

2022 Inter-AC letter to COM Commission response
Joint-Recommendation NWWAC-PelAC Sprat in English Channel (areas 7d and 7e)

The NWWAC and PelAC recommend that the TAC for sprat in the English Channel should not exceed the ICES MSY advice.

The advice mentions the stock structure of sprat populations in the Celtic Seas ecoregion is unknown. The ACs recommend that a genetics stock identification project should be undertaken to better understand the stock structure of the sprat populations in the Celtic Seas ecoregion.

In addition, in the context of improved management of the directed fishery, the PelAC will be examining the possibility of developing a management strategy for sprat in the Celtic Sea ecoregion.

Both ACs suggest that the current sprat management units should be evaluated by ICES.

Gentlemen’s Agreement NWWAC and PelAC on joint work on sprat and greater silver smelt

The North Western Waters Advisory Council and the Pelagic Advisory Council approved a gentlemen’s agreement, establishing a protocol for collaboration on providing advice to the European Commission on sprat and Greater Silver smelt in ICES areas 6 and 7.

As part of the newly agreed NWWAC-PelAC protocol, the PelAC will include the greater silver smelt stock in the advice package to be presented by ICES during the annual PelAC Working Group II meeting in July.

All concerned NWWAC members will be invited to attend the April meeting as observers. During this meeting, discussions on the catch advice of sprat will be held between ICES and PelAC members, and preliminary thoughts on a potential recommendation will be formulated.

2022 Letter NWWAC PelAC Gentlemens Agreement
PelAC contribution to public consultation on review of the CFP

The Pelagic AC (PelAC) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Commission’s consultation on the review of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The establishment of the Advisory Councils in 2002, unifying stakeholders and tasked to advise the Commission and Member States on fisheries management, is a key instrument to shape the delivery of the CFP. Managing all stocks at MSY-level is an example of a CFP objective contributing to positive change on the status of fish stocks.

Brexit which has fundamentally changed the landscape and dynamic of the CFP since the regulation came into force. Any successful evaluation of the current CFP thus needs to fully take this development into account and capture its repercussions.

2022 Consultation Review CFP 2022 Annex 2014 landing obligations
Joint-AC letter on stakeholder engagement in Specialised Fisheries Committee

Through the newly formed ‘inter-AC Brexit Forum’, the Pelagic, Long Distance, North Western Waters, North Sea and Markets Advisory Councils impacted by Brexit wish to address horizontal issues specifically in the context of Brexit with the Commission. The Forum has formulated a number of key questions in relation to the setup and operational mode of the SCF moving forward, and seeks to establish a framework for formal consultation on specific topics prior to relevant SCF meetings.

It is a positive development that the Commission attended our meetings on 5 May and 2 June 2022, and contributed to the discussions with important details concerning developments in the SCF. One of the resolutions of the last meeting relates to the scheduling of Forum meetings within one week after every SCF WG meeting to allow for timely transmission of relevant information on SCF procedures through the Commission’s SCF debrief. The members of the Inter-AC Brexit Forum reiterate their plea for structured stakeholder engagement in SCF proceedings and invite the Commission to actively support our ambitions towards transparent, just and sustainable management of shared resources.

2022 Inter-AC letter to COM on Brexit and SCF Commission response 20 July: letter to COM on SCF
Progressing the ICES assessments for North Sea horse mackerel and boarfish

PelAC asks the Commission to support the Pelagic AC by requesting ICES to improve the quality of the data available for the North Sea horse mackerel and boarfish stocks, and to prioritize the transition of these two stocks to higher stock categories.

2022 Assessment categories NS horse mackerel and boarfish Commission response
Joint-AC letter on contributions from Advisory Councils in Commission public consultations

The ACs would like to make a recommendation both on the process of targeting ACs for such consultations, as well as on the consideration of AC responses by the Commission services.

When launching relevant EU consultations, the undersigned ACs ask the Commission to:

  • Treat contributions from ACs to public consultations with added weight compared to responses from individuals/individual organisations;
  • Document AC advice uptake at the end of the consultation process;
  • Take working processes of ACs into account in a systematic fashion, i.e. by flagging upcoming consultations as early as possible, by providing translated documents in relevant working languages and by extending timelines for feedback submissions from ACs as appropriate.
  • In addition to the questionnaire consultations, engage in active dialogue with ACs through bilateral meetings on relevant policy consultations.
2022 Weight of ACs advice consultations Commission response

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