Workshop to review and progress the reported lists of EU MSFD Descriptor (WKD3Lists).

The European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) aims to protect the marine environment and to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) by 2020 and explicitly requires fishing activity to be managed to ensure that conservation objectives for the broader marine ecosystem might be achieved.

The Commission Decision (EU) 2017/848 sets out that populations of commercial fish and shellfish (MSFD Descriptor 3 (D3)) are within safe biological limits and exhibit a population age and size distribution that is indicative of a healthy stock. Member States shall establish a list of commercially-exploited fish and shellfish to be assessed and reported for MSFD Descriptor 3. This decision provides criteria for the development of these lists and these lists form the basis for the assessment of MSFD D3.

The ICES workshop WKD3lists worked remotely to:

In updating the operational (reference) list compiled by the European Commission using the European Environment Agency list of MSFD D3 stocks and the lists of D3 reported by Member States in the 2018 exercise, WKD3lists identified gaps at species level and at MSFD region-subregion level and provided a list of stocks under national management plans, which could be added to the reference list. It should be noted that most but not all EU member states had submitted their D3 assessments at the time of WKD3Lists taking place. Potential scenarios for making the reference list consistent with member states’ reporting were identified.

By reviewing the lists of D3 reported by Member States in 2018 against the reference list. This exercise led to the identification of important species at small scale-coastal level at a MSFD region-subregion level, for inclusion.

Building on previous ICES advice, WKD3Lists evaluated if revisions of the criteria used to define species were required WKD3lists considered the criteria for selection of D3 species according to the Commission Decision 848/2017, the definition of commercial species (D3) and considered whether the use of thresholds by value or tonnage should be used by Member States. WKD3lists discussed the overlap between marine species reported under MSFD D1 (biological diversity) and commercial species reported under D3. In addition, WKD3lists explored the possibility of including extra stocks for assessment of D3 based on ICES work on MSY reference points for data limited stocks. A note was made of those newly exploited in for instance cleaner fish in salmonid farming were considered.

The workshop also evaluated if changes to the reference D3 lists were required to fully meet the requirements of the Commission Decision. This process examined the status of non-indigenous species reared in aquaculture but escaping to intermingle with wild populations, of species being harvested for fattening in aquaculture.

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ICES (2020). Workshop to review and progress the reported lists of EU MSFD Descriptor (WKD3Lists). ICES Scientific Reports/Rapports scientifiques du CIEM. 2 (82). 128p..,

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