Following an annual cycle of data collection, analysis and international coordination, Cefas scientists provide direct scientific advisory input at negotiations in support of the UK Fisheries Minister and Defra fisheries management teams. This takes place at the annual EU Council of Ministers negotiations to determine the quotas and technical measures used to control European fisheries.
Cefas annually supports the UK Defra managers during the EU – Norway shared stock negotiations and the NEAFC coastal state negotiations as well as the EU negotiators at NAFO Scientific Council meetings, NASCO Council and Commission meetings and IWC. Currently, Cefas’ scientists occupy the roles of chair of STECF, vice-chair of ICES ACOM and chair of SEAFO Scientific Committee.
Cefas directly supports delivery of the UK fisheries managers’ key priorities throughout the European and North Atlantic management systems. We provide this strategic support by informing the customer of potential, long-term requirements from research programmes as well the short-term, evidence-based science required to achieve policy aims. In addition to supporting the UK and EU negotiators, Cefas is also regularly commissioned by the international fishery management bodies to conduct research to inform discussions and decisions.
Cefas is a key delivery partner for Defra, the Marine Management Organisation, the Welsh Assembly Government, the Food Standards Agency and the Environment Agency. Cefas collaborates regularly with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Natural England, the Universities of East Anglia, Bangor and Exeter, amongst others and many more scientific institutes, in order to progress UK policy aims. Cefas provides fisheries management advice to fishery managers and negotiators based upon rigorous scientific analysis, research papers, reports, reviews and briefing notes. Our advice is therefore evidence-based, impartial and robust. It takes into consideration uncertainty by adopting a precautionary approach to fisheries management for the stock and also the higher level ecosystem implications.
Cefas operates extensive survey, sampling, data management and analytical programmes and collaborates nationally and internationally to coordinate scientific knowledge and fisheries assessment. The following examples of our work demonstrate our wide topic range involving diverse stakeholders and complex political environments:
The provision of advice on bass has a high profile following Defra proposals to increase the Minimum Landing Size (MLS). Cefas provided support in scrutinising responses from fisheries organisations to the Minister on the impacts of the proposal, input to the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) and a submission, presenting the biological background on bass and its fishery, to the UK Minister and representatives of recreational anglers and the fishing industry.
Cefas scientists have, for many years, attended NAFO Scientific Council meetings and contributed to NAFO advice on a range of issues including the status of stocks, development of a bottom fishing footprint and measures to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs). Cefas has also attended Annual Meetings of the NEAFC and provided scientific advice on deep-water issues in EU Coordination meetings. Cefas is currently Chair of the SEAFO Scientific Committee, presenting advice on a range of issues to the SEAFO Fisheries Commission, including the status of stocks (most of which are very data-poor).
Cefas first identified the rapidly declining eel stock many years prior to EU action. We now work closely with the Environment Agency in the development of the Eel Management Plan for UK required under the EU Regulation for Establishing Measures for the Recovery of the Stock of European Eel and we are developing new assessment methods to support these plans.
In 2008, Cefas provided critical simulation studies evaluating the cod recovery plan suggested by EU and Norway fishery managers for the North Sea and the EU for the Irish Sea and West of Scotland stocks. The study suggested further developments and refinements and outlined potential difficulties with implementing the management rules. In 2009, Cefas provided critical simulation studies evaluating the final agreed compromise plan.
Cefas had a leading role in the development of a long-term management strategy for North East Atlantic mackerel and western horse mackerel. The work was conducted in close cooperation with other EU laboratories and with the Pelagic Regional Advisory Council.
Cefas has a leading role providing Defra with guidance as to how to implement the Directive in terms of potential targets, indicators and the impact on the economic prosperity of the UK fisheries and the biological impact on the ecosystem.
Cefas is helping to lead discussions within Europe concerning the management of populations of fish eating birds (particularly cormorants) and the resolution of conflicts between fisheries and ornithological interests. This work includes negotiations with a wide range of stakeholders, including environmental interest groups.
Cefas had an integral role in the development of new procedures for advancing the assessment and management of Atlantic salmon by ICES and NASCO, and have led the preparation of the Implementation Plan for Salmon Management in England and Wales.