Working Group on Recreational Fisheries Surveys (WGRFS; outputs from 2023 meeting).

The role of the ICES Working Group on Recreational Fisheries Surveys (WGRFS) is to compile and validate data from European countries' recreational fisheries and contribute to the ICES advisory process regarding marine recreational fisheries (MRF) issues. In 2023, WGRFS actively engaged in various aspects of MRF, involving the consolidation and evaluation of national survey programs, validating new methodologies, offering guidance on data availability, quality, and usage, facilitating regional data gathering and storage, exploring human dimensions, and assessing workshops organized by the group. The sessions primarily aimed at information exchange, evaluating the quality of national survey programs, intersessional group activities, and scientific publication plans. A wide array of topics was discussed, including the introduction of new national survey programs and their outcomes in countries like Australia, the French Caribbean, Germany, Italy, Latin America, Namibia, South Africa, Spain, the UK, and the USA. Insights on MRF were shared by the European Commission and representatives from the angling community. Updates were provided on the outcomes of the Regional Coordination Group (RCG) intersessional group on Recreational Fisheries. Presentations summarized the findings of stock assessments involving MRF. Using the WGRFS Quality Assurance Tool, assessments were conducted on two national survey schemes: Finland and the UK Catchwise. Issues with the approaches were highlighted, and recommendations were proposed for future enhancements. The primary focus of the meeting centred on reviewing advances, formulating strategies, and setting the course for the intersessional groups (ISGs), which serve as the main delivery mechanism for WGRFS. The ISGs encompass governance, survey methodologies, quality assurance, regional coordination and data storage, catch and release, animal welfare, stock assessment and reconstruction, innovative methodologies, human dimensions, and communication and engagement. Due to the breadth of discussions and outcomes, a comprehensive summary is not feasible here, but detailed information is available within the main text. The WGRFS has consistently produced results focused on several key areas: establishing an extensive network for sharing expertise, refining methodologies, enhancing the scientific profile, and providing scientific evidence to support the integration of recreational data in fisheries management.

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ICES (2024). Working Group on Recreational Fisheries Surveys (WGRFS; outputs from 2023 meeting). ICES Scientific Reports/Rapports scientifiques du CIEM. 6 (11). 52pp..,

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