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
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
Fisheries Action plan to conserve fisheries resources

In general terms, the Pelagic AC would like to underline that healthy stocks and marine ecosystems are essential to ensure the short, medium and long term sustainability of pelagic fisheries.

2021 Letter to COM on the consultation on the FAP to conserve fisheries resources
Southern Horse Mackerel management plan

The PELAC reaffirms its intention to continue pursuing the development of a management strategy for Southern horse mackerel. The Commission advises that Pelagid AC liaise and coordinate with the South Western Waters Advisory Council on an agreed approach for this management plan.

Update: Following a second meeting of the SHOM FG between the PelAC and the SWWAC on the 18th May 2021, this single amendment – to Article 5.1 of the management strategy  (TAC setting procedures) – has been agreed on a consensus basis.

2021 Letter to Commission on agreed amendment to SHOM long-term management strategy Commission response Commission response Letter to Commission on clarification for TAC 2022 SHOM recommendation
Stakeholder participation in future fisheries management and governance structures, post-Brexit

The Advisory Councils wish to collectively emphasise the vital importance of stakeholder participation in future management and governance structures to be established for partnership working with the UK. We urge the Commission to plan to ensure that stakeholder engagement and advice is central to all future management and governance structures being developed as the new relationship between the EU and UK takes concrete form.

2021 Letter on stakeholder participation Commission response
North Sea herring TAC calculations & Management Strategy Evaluation for blue whiting

North Sea herring: PelAC members would like to request a clarification on how the different Total Allowable Catches (TACs) are calculated for herring in Area 4 and herring in Area 3a.

Blue whiting: in a letter of 14 October 2020 PelAC recommended that a Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) be carried out for this stock. Now PelAC requests an update on this matter.

2021 NS herring & Blue whiting Management Strategy Evaluation

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