Report of the Regional Co-ordination Meeting for the North Sea and Eastern Arctic (RCM NS&EA) 2014. Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences (SLU Aqua) Lysekil, Sweden 08-12 September 2014

Type Scientific report
Date 2014
Language English
Contributor(s) Mahe KeligORCID, Vigneau JoelORCID
Abstract The RCM NS&EA met in Lysekil (Sweden) between 8-12 September 2014. The main purpose of the RCM is coordinate the National Programmes (NP) of the Member States (MS) in the North Sea region for 2015. The Data Collection Framework (DCF) is under revision to adapt it to the changes in the current Common Fishery Policy (CFP). In 2015, a landing obligation will be introduced to pelagic fisheries in EU waters. In the following years, this landing obligation will be extended to all fisheries. The landing obligation will affect the biological sampling and it is likely that already in 2015 changes in the scientific sampling need to be introduced. At present there is little clarity about the conditions or rules of how exempt discards at-sea may take place. Further, it is unclear how storage of unwanted catch on-board should be handled. All these factors have the potential to effect the condition of the landing with ramifications for the quality of the biological data that can be obtained from this fraction. Specific concerns include the species composition and identification, the ability to estimate the demographic structure of the sampled trips catches, the estimates of sample numbers, the ability to measure fish and collect otoliths and even the ability to access samples at all (e.g. under health and safety regulations). The landing location and fate of this unwanted catch on shore is also as yet unclear and will remain so until the landing obligation actually comes into force. The unwanted catch fraction will almost certainly not be available at the fish auctions where much of the present sampling of the landed catch occurs. This has implications for on-shore sampling designs and data collection protocols. The representative of the Commission indicated that, in this case, changes in the scientific sampling could be made during 2015 without adjusting the NP. Instead, these changes should be explained in the AR for 2015. It is likely that the changes in sampling require some international coordination which will be carried out intersessionally by the RCM. Also concern was expressed on the quality of monitoring catch data. The landing obligation will lead to different destinies of the catch and procedures and facilities to record and document the catches need to be adjusted to the new situation. It was recognised that in order to obtain qualitative acceptable data that both catch data should be reliable and scientific sampling programmes of these data should follow sound statistical procedures. Further consideration was given to the introduction of the revised DCF. RCM NS&EA considers there to be three over-arching drivers that will lead the development of regional coordination within the future EU-MAP: (i) the legislative framework governing obligations, (ii) adherence to the principle of statistical best practice and (iii) the availability of an appropriate tool-set, specifically, adequate IT provision. Specific comment relating to these drivers are discussed elsewhere in this report. In order to achieve an efficient way to implement the new upcoming data collection legislation and to support the new CFP in an optimal way, RCM NSEA 2013 initiated a road map. The initial road map was taken further by the RCM NA 2013. The RCM NS&EA 2014 reviewed the text of both RCM NSEA 2013 and RCM NA 2013 and notices that the speed and the actual implementation of the road map is hampered by the absence of the new legislation, the lack of development of the RDB and the lack of establishment of the RCG process yet. The road-map will need to be adjusted as experience is building up and this could be done within the remits of future RCGs. Future STECF EWGs can also suggest actions and adaptations to the road-map. RCM NS&EA 2014 notices that due to delays in adoption of a proposal for the revision of the DCF and the lack of funds for the progressive RDB development and relevant study proposals, the entire timeline has now slipped and has become uncertain. Previous meetings of the RCM NS&EA have explored the RDB as tool to demonstrate its utility in analysing quality and consistency of data on a regional level. This year the RCM NS&EA focused on the processes which need to be established for obtaining and demonstrating high quality data. Several stages can be defined in the quality assurance process which are discussed in this report. The most relevant are: identifying the most appropriate (statistical) design of data collection schemes, implementation of the scheme, monitoring of performance, data archiving and validation of data, data analyses to investigate quality of the data, documentation, feedback from the end users and adaption of the sampling schemes as required. This report discuss the responsibilities in this process (MS, RCG, end users). It is recognized that within ICES considerable progress has been made in developing a framework and tools for the evaluation of the quality of data which are relevant for the DCF. Also it is noted that some MS already have established procedures and protocols which ensure the quality of data. The report of RCM NS&EA 2014 provides extensive guidelines to the MS how to implement quality assurance procedures. MS were requested, through a data call, to upload data for 2009-2013 in the regional data base (RDB). Most MS complied with this request. Spanish data were not uploaded but available to the meeting. French data for 2014 were available by not uploaded. Some Portuguese data could not be uploaded because of technical problems. The fact that all MS have committed themselves to provide the requested data to the RCM must be considered as great progress. Evaluation of the data call for submission of data to the RDB revealed large differences between the MS in the number of species subject to scientific sampling, indicating that data uploads by several countries is still incomplete. This needs to improve in future years. The main conclusion is that by exploring the content of the DB we identified the urgent need to develop software to be able to run queries that give us an answer to the questions we address. Also reference lists have to be implemented for species, harbours and metiers which prevent to upload invalid data. A general cost sharing model was proposed for surveys carried out by MS jointly on the vessels of one or two MS. The National Correspondents (NC) present in the RCM NS&EA 2014 agreed that the proposed cost sharing model be used for the International Ecosystem Survey in the Nordic Seas (IESNS) carried out by the Danish R/V Dana and the Blue Whiting Survey carried out by the Irish R/V Celtic Explorer and the Dutch R/V Tridens for years 2014 and 2015 or until a new DCF? regulation is in place. The agreement has been forwarded to the RCM NA 2014 for agreement between the NC’s, not present at the RCM NS&EA. Recurring items on the agenda were the consideration of the follow up of relevant recommendations made last year by Liaison Committee. Further, through a number of presentations, the members of the group were informed on relevant developments. The ICES observer presented feedback from expert groups on data needs, projected benchmark meetings in 2015, and changes in the structure of relevant ICES WG. A number of recommendations and agreements were made dealing with the landing obligation, quality assurance, RCB and cost sharing of surveys.
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(2014) Report of the Regional Co-ordination Meeting for the North Sea and Eastern Arctic (RCM NS&EA) 2014. Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences (SLU Aqua) Lysekil, Sweden 08-12 September 2014.