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Mandate of the Committee and report of the Chairperson

9. Mr Satia introduced this agenda item by highlighting the main thrusts of the Reference Framework for the mandate of SAC for the intersessional period 2003-2004 and the respective workplans of the SAC subsidiary bodies as endorsed by GFCM. He pointed out that the Commission had empowered the Chairperson of SAC to determine priority activities within the Reference Framework and on available inputs and achievements for the intersessional period.

10. The Chairperson informed the Committee that the subsidiary bodies of SAC had undertaken intensive work during the past seven months and that the respective Coordinators or a Member of the Sub-Committee for those Sub-Committees whose Coordinators are not participating at this Session would report to the Committee. He further informed the Committee that, in keeping with the directives of the Commission at its Twenty-seventh Session, a meeting of the SAC Bureau (Chairperson and two Vice-Chairpersons), the Coordinators of the Sub-Committees, the Facilitators of the Working Groups, the responsible persons for monitoring the Glossary, the representatives from ADRIAMED, COPEMED and MEDSUDMED and of the GFCM Secretariat was held in Nicosia, Cyprus, on 5 June 2003. The meeting reviewed the modus operandi of the subsidiary bodies and proposed that the SAC bureau should be renewed at the Sixth Session of the Committee.

11. The Committee was informed that participation in the meetings of the subsidiary bodies was decreasing (in terms of number of scientists involved, countries represented, sub-regional balance). It was pointed out that this might be due to inadequate budgetary resources at national level and the high number of meetings held each year.

12. In the ensuing discussion, the Committee made the following suggestions:

13. The Secretariat informed the Committee that FAO was willing to print and disseminate peer reviewed publications emanating from the work of SAC. The Committee welcomed the assurance given by the Secretariat that plans were in place to undertake an external evaluation of the achievements of SAC and that the Consultant’s report will be reviewed by a limited number of experts from SAC taking into account both geographical balance and proper representation of the Sub-Committees. The outcome of the evaluation will be presented to the Commission.

14. At the request of the Committee, the Secretariat made available to the delegates a summary note on the TCP Component of the MEDFISIS Project.

Review of the reports of the meetings of the Sub-Committees

Sub-Committee for Stock Assessment

15. The report of the Sub-Committee for Stock Assessment (SCSA) was presented by the Coordinator, Mr Pere Oliver, on the basis of document GFCM:SAC6/2003/Inf.8. The Coordinator informed the Committee that the Sub-Committee had experienced a number of difficulties particularly the decreasing participation in terms of number and level of experts per country and geographical balance. Mr Oliver, however, noted that despite this situation, a total of 24 stocks were reviewed from 13 GFCM geographical sub-areas on the basis of 14 assessments (8 on demersals and 6 on small pelagics) carried out by its Working Groups. In addition, the Sub-Committee updated the list of shared stocks, revised the list of priority species and continued work on the identification of biological reference points.

16. The Committee commended the work of the Sub-Committee and endorsed its report.

17. The Committtee reviewed the Sub-Committee’s recommendations and made the following recommendations.

Recommendations addressed to the Commission by SAC

18. The Committee agreed that in general it should maintain recommendations made to the Commission at its Twenty-seventh Session except for those stocks where specific recommendations are addressed to the Commission. Appendix D contains information for the different stocks assessed by the SCSA.

19. Hake (Merluccius merluccius) Geographical Sub-Area 7 - Gulf of Lions (Assessed in 2002): Maintain its 2002 recommendation that is a reduction of 20% of fishing mortality and an improvement of the exploitation pattern.

20. Merluccius merluccius Geographical Sub-Area 9 - Ligurian and northern Thyrrhenian (Assessed in 2003): Taking into account the fact that important fleet reduction had occurred in the last 3 years, the assessment should be revised, enlarging the study area and considering the stock is shared between France and Italy.

21. Mullus barbatus Geographical Sub-Area 9 - Ligurian and northern Thyrrhenian (Assessed in 2002): Reduction of fishing effort especially on the areas and season where and when recently recruited juveniles are concentrated.

22. Mullus barbatus Geographical Sub-Area 10 - Southern and central Thyrrhenian (Assessed in 2003): Reduce the total mortality by 10-15%, leading towards a safer position of the SSB/SSB0, which could be obtained inter alia through enforcing the already existing permanent spatial closures.

23. Mullus barbatus Geographical Sub-Area 3 - Southern part of Alboran Sea (Assessed in 2003): 60 percent reduction of the fishing effort in coastal areas, this could be achieved, inter alia, by transferring part of the fishing effort to more offshore fishing grounds. The Committee pointed out that this is a preliminary assessment that should be updated as soon as possible.

24. Red shrimp (Aristeus antennatus) in Geographical Sub-Area 1 - Northern Alboran Sea, 5 Balearic Islands and 6 Northern of Spain (Assessed in 2003): Reduction of fishing effort by 25%. The Committee pointed out that this is a preliminary assessment that should be updated as soon as possible.

25. Trachurus trachurus Geographical Sub-Area 3 - Southern part of Alboran Sea (Assessed in 2003): Based on the assessment of 2002, not to increase fishing effort.

26. Parapenaeus longirostris Geographical Sub-Area 3 - Southern part of Alboran Sea (Assesed in 2003), Stock assessment of Aristeomorpha foliacea Geographical Sub-Area 11 Sardinia (Assessed in 2002) Nephrops norvegicus Geographical Sub-Area 9 Ligurian and northern Thyrrhenian (Assessed in 2002): No specific recommendation was given but SAC requested that its 2002 recommendations be maintained.

27. Engraulis encrasicolus in Geographical Sub-Area 1 - Northern Alboran Sea. Engraulis encrasicolus in Geographical Sub-Area 6 - Northern Spain. Sardina pilchardus in Geographical Sub-Area 1 - Northern Alboran sea. Sardina pilchardus in Geographical Sub-Area 6 - Northern Spain: No specific recommendation was given because owing to the incident of Prestige, the research vessel was not available to undertake stock assessments for the stocks in 2003.

28. Engraulis encrasicolus in Geographical Sub-Area 7-6 north - Gulf of Lions and North Catalonia (Assessed in 2003 by hydroacoustic methods): Not to increase the fishing effort.

29. Engraulis encrasicolus in Geographical Sub-Area 17 - Northern Adriatic (Assessed in 2003): Not to increase fishing effort. Members should provide updated figures on size and characteristics of fishing fleets and gear exploiting this stock in order to stabilize or maintain the current level of fishing effort. ADRIAMED Project was requested to continue to support this exercise.

30. Sardina pilchardus in Geographical Sub-Area 17 - Northern Adriatic (Assessed in 2003): Reduction of fishing effort to achieve an exploitation rate below 0.4.

31. Coryphaena hyppurus: The Committee noted the work undertaken by COPEMED-CORY project in the framework of a joint evaluation of this highly migratory species, the stock of which belongs to the same population all over the study area (Balearic Islands, Sicily, Malta, Tunisia) and which is included in the priority species GFCM list.

32. The Committee recommended the inclusion of the following shared stocks within the GFCM list and encouraged Members to provide data for these stocks:

33. The Committee also agreed to complement the current list of main Adriatic (Northern and Southern Adriatic) shared species as recommended by regional experts collaborating in the ADRIAMED project.

34. The Committee suggested incorporating the following species in the GFCM priority species list.

35. The Committee aknowledged the development of a new method called Direct Survival Method (DSM) and supported the suggestion to initiate pilot exercises to test and validate this new method.

Biological Reference Points (BRP)

36. With regard to the Biological Reference Points (BRP) issue, and following the recommendation addressed by the Commission, SAC recognized the importance of developing an agreed precautionary framework in the Mediterranean by identifying appropriate BRP for some key species. In this context and in order to make possible an adaptive fishery management, SAC welcomed the SCSA proposal of organizing a workshop, early in 2004, to estimate and validate, at Mediterranean level, the most suitable BRP.

37. Furthermore, SAC pointed out that due to the environmental and biological interactions and the characteristic multispecific fisheries of the Mediterranean, an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) seemed the most indicated for the identification of specific BRP. Nevertheless, because of the lack of available databases, which make unrealistic such EAF approach, at least in the short term, some less complex approaches are considered appropriate.

38. The Committee expressed the view that trawl surveys, catch/landing surveys and hydro-acoustic surveys could provide the needed information for the validation, at Mediterranean level, of specific BRP. For this purpose, indicators as Biomass abundance trend by species or groups of species together with its length and/or age distribution, the Exploitation rate (E) the spawning stock biomass ratio (SSBc/SSB0), the Fishing Mortality Rate (F), the Mortality rate (Z) or ZMBP or ZMed, were considered as appropriate starting parameters to investigate.

39. SAC recommended that both MEDITS and SAMED data sets, for the Northern side of the Mediterranean, as well as data sets available in other areas covering the Southern Mediterranean rime should be used. Regarding the stocks to be analyzed, SAC directed that it would be useful to begin with stocks of hake, red mullet and anchovy.

40. Taking into account the mandate given to SAC at the Twenty-seventh Session of GFCM, the Committee entrusted the preparatory work for the workshop on BRP to the Coordinator of SCSA.

41. The Committee recommended that the Commission should request Members to encourage the participation of their experts at their meeting and ensure that these experts bring along with them all relevant information and data.

42. The Committee welcomed the offer by the Italian delegation to host the workshop in Italy in early 2004.

Recommendations addressed to the Sub-Committee

43. Sardina pilchardus Geographical Sub-Area 3 - Southern Alboran Sea (Assessed in 2003): Should be assessed for the next session.

44. Engraulis encrasicolus in geographical Sub-Area 22 - Aegean Sea (Assessed in 1999 and submitted in 2002): Should design and conduct a long-term program on biomass estimates.

45. Sardina pilchardus in Geographical Sub-Area 7 - Gulf of Lions (Assessed in 2003): Continue the investigation on biomass and fishing effort estimation.

46. Sardina pilchardus in Geographical Sub-Area 16 - Sicily Channel (Assessed in 2003): Should undertake further analysis and present an assessement form where the time series of data on biomass estimation, the fleet characteristics and catch data would be included, allowing the proper assessment of the sardine and anchovy stock and the formulation of some management measures. The study should include the impact of local fisheries directed to larval or juvenile specimens of this species.

47. Sardina pilchardus in geographical Sub-Area 20+22 - Eastern Ionian Sea and Aegean Sea (Assessed in 2002): Should design and conduct a long-term programme on biomass estimates.

General Recommendations

48. The Committee also made the following general recommendations:

Sub-Committee on Marine Environment and Ecosystems (SCMEE)

49. In the absence of the Coordinator of the Sub-Committee on Marine Environment and Ecosystems, the report was presented by Mr J. Lleonart, on the basis of document GFCM:SAC6/2003/Inf.5.

50. The Committee endorsed the report and the following recommendations made by the Sub-Committee on Marine Environment and Ecosystems:

51. The Committee took note of the vulnerability of cartilaginous fishes and requested the SCMEE to revisit the issue, elaborate clear terms of reference indicating priority areas and a list of species or groups of species to be studied.

52. The Committee also expressed serious concerns regarding catches of non-target species by driftnets. In order to enable SCMEE undertake the task defined in the Reference Framework for the mandate of SAC 2003-2004 as directed by the Commission at its Twenty-seventh Session, the Committee invited the Commission to request Members to submit to the SAC/SCMEE all available relevant information.

53. On the issue of mucilaginous algae blooms, the Committee expressed the view that it would be useful to conduct a workshop on the subject. An output of the workshop should be inter alia a catalogue of toxic species in the Mediterranean Basin, a manual of methods and standardised protocols. The Committee requested SCMEE to elaborate terms of reference including the justification, scope, plan of work and potential participants for such a workshop. The conclusion of the training workshop to be organized in 2004 in Tunisia under the auspices of the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and in collaboration with COPEMED and the National Institute for Research and Sciences (INSTM) of Tunisia on this matter could be the start-up of long term work by SCMEE on mucilaginous algae blooms in the Mediterranean.

Sub-Committee on Statistics and Information (SCSI)

54. Given the absence of the Coordinator of the Sub-Committee on Statistics and Information (SCSI), the Chairperson invited Mr. Camilleri, who was proposed at the last Sub-Committee meeting as new Coordinator, to present the report of the Sub-Committee meeting and that of the ad hoc Working Group on Operational Units that was held in Rome, 8-9 April 2003, contained in document GFCM:SAC6/2003/Inf.6.

55. The SCSI was informed about the current status of the MedFisis project that will be jointly funded by the European Commission and the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme. The project is expected to focus on the census of fishing vessels and catch and effort data collection schemes along with the development of related information systems. It will be compatible with the requirements of the GFCM capture databases, the FAO statistical databases and as much as possible with FAO Fisheries Global Information Systems (FIGIS).

56. The Committee endorsed the report as well as the following recommendations of the SCSI:

57. The Committee forwarded to the GFCM Secretariat the SCSI suggestion that the relevant human and financial resources should be sought within FAO to develop the GFCM website. The web page, when established, should include information on the activities of the subsidiary bodies and links to the Mediterranean related databases managed by FAO and the regional projects.

58. The EC delegation clarified that paragraph 14 of the SCSI report is inappropriate and that data collected by EU Member States under Community Data Collection Framework are independent from the data requirements of Eurostat.

Report of the Operational Units Working Group

59. Mr. Camilleri briefly outlined the presentations given at the Operational Units working group and informed the meeting that the Working Group made significant efforts to draw up a scheme for data collection. He explained that the Working Group laid down lists of minimum data requirements for socio-economic data and resource-based data which may be collected through separate schemes as long as a proper link is built to combine the two data sets into an operational units database as defined by GFCM.

60. The Committee endorsed the proposal of the Working Group to carry out two pilot studies to test the applicability of this data collection scheme which should be conducted by ADRIAMED and COPEMED. The project Directors assured the Committee of their willingness to support implemention of these studies.

61. It was noted that attendance at the meeting of the Working Group was limited to 18 experts. However, experts from the 3 Sub-Committees, 2 Sub-Committee Coordinators, the First Vice Chairman of SAC, 3 FAO backstopping officers and other FAO officers, together with the 2 regional projects Directors participated in the meeting. The Committee restated that the set up of data collection by operational units would be a great support to accomplish its mandate and acknowledged that some progress had been made by the Working Group but requested that for future activities on this issue the largest involvement of experts from different sub-regions and from all Sub-Committees be sought and that the pilot studies and the prototype to host the data collected be presented to the Committee as soon as they will be ready.

Sub-Committee on Economic and Social Sciences (SCESS)

62. In the absence of the Coordinator of the Sub-Committee on Economic and Social Sciences, the Chairperson introduced the report of the Sub-Committee on the basis of documents SAC6/2003/3 and SAC6/2003/Inf.7.

63. The Committee endorsed the report presented by SCESS and further endorsed the following sociological indicators: age, number of years of active fishing, capital share, education attainment, household structure, social background, and professional experience, for inclusion in the existing list of basic economic indicators of the GFCM information system being promoted by SCSI.

64. The Committee recommended that each national focal point should collect and forward to the Coordinator the required information on regional and national projects and activities related to fishery social sciences in the Mediterranean as well as the bibliographical references using the agreed standard forms. The Committee called on all countries to nominate and forward to the Coordinators with copies to the GFCM Secretariat the full names and addresses of their respective national focal points.

65. The Committee expressed the need for increased research related to fish markets, including prices, quality control, processing and labelling as an important step to increase scientific knowledge on socio-economic aspects including national and international marketing policies, distribution systems and aspects related to import/export. To streamline the visibility of its activities in the medium-term, the Committee supported the priorities for socio-economic research in fisheries to be organised into the following four categories.

66. SAC proposed to add the new definitions of "fleet" and "fishery" and "metier" to the glossary.

67. The Committee underscored the importance of the bio-economic models for fisheries management, such as BEMMFISH under development, and encouraged delegates to support any such initiatives by using these tools in their work.

68. The Committee expressed appreciation to the regional projects COPEMED and ADRIAMED for their continued support for the work undertaken on the socio-economic indicators in Albania, Algeria, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Tunisia. It encouraged other Members of GFCM to undertake similar work in their respective countries.

69. The Committee requested the Secretariat to organize a technical meeting on the use of socio-economic indicators in fisheries management and to update the FAO Circular N° 927 on macroeconomic aspects of Mediterranean fisheries.

70. The Committee urged that the Secretariat, in consultation with the Coordinator of the Sub-Committee, should review and make appropriate corrections to Annex 6 of the Sub-Committee report before its publication.

Report of the GFCM/ICCAT Working Group on Large Pelagics

71. The Committee noted that a formal meeting of this Working Group was not held this year but that ICCAT organized a meeting on the Mediterranean Swordfish Stock Assessment in Madrid, 26-30 May 2003. As this meeting was not considered a GFCM meeting, SAC decided not to discuss the report.

Progress of the GFCM (SAC/CAQ)/ICCAT Working Group on Sustainable Tuna Farming

72. In the absence of Mr V. Restrepo, Chairperson of this ad hoc Working Group, the SAC Chairperson reported on the first meeting of the Working Group that was held in Rome, 12-14 May 2003. He recalled the various steps that led to the creation of this joint GFCM-ICCAT Working Group. He informed the Committee that the Coordination Committee, created to facilitate the task of the Working Group, met in January 2003 in Madrid.

73. The Coordination Committee had drafted a questionnaire to collect data on tuna farming that had been circulated to many potential Working Group members in order to initiate gathering information from the countries involved in tuna farming activities. At the Working Group meeting, experts from eight countries presented data on the current situation on tuna farming in their respective countries through the preliminary questionnaire or provided general information on the activity. The data presented facilitated the finalization of the questionnaire which is reproduced as Appendix 5 of the Working Group report. With regard to countries that have not participated in the Working Group, but are either active or potentially active in tuna farming related activities, the Committee endorsed the suggestion to encourage their participation and requested them to provide information to the Working Group on their activities.

74. The Committee noted the intense workplan set-up by the Working Group and urged participants to submit, through their experts, their final national reports to the Chairperson of the Working Group by 14 July 2003. The reports will be summarized and analyzed by three members of the Working Group, Ms Fenech-Farrugia, Mr Lovatelli and Mr Miyake, who will respectively take care of the capture fisheries, farming, and market and trade components. These analyses are due to be completed before the end of September 2003. A progress report will be presented to the Twenty-eighth Session of GFCM and the forthcoming Session of ICCAT.

75. The Committee further noted that a second meeting of the Working Group is scheduled for December 2003 at which a first draft of guidelines for sustainable tuna farming should be prepared. By March 2004, countries would be requested to present an updated national report including data on the 2003 fishing/farming season. A third meeting with the main goal of finalizing the guidelines is planned soon after March 2004.

76. The delegation of Japan pointed out that the data on the import of farmed tuna included in the Working Group’s report for its country should be updated. The delegation of Spain also pointed out that the data attributed to its country on farmed product of tuna was not correct. The Secretariat informed the two delegations that the data considered as valid by the Working Group would be those submitted by countries in their final national reports.

Updating of the Glossary

77. The Committee stressed the importance of the Glossary to the work of SAC. It established an ad hoc Working Group constituted by Ms P. Pereda and Messrs L. Garibaldi, V. Placenti, G. Relini and J. Lleonart, to revise the definitions and include new terms in the Glossary. The ad hoc Working Group should meet before the end of 2003. The Committee recalled that the procedure for incorporating new terms and definitions in the Glossary is through the focal points of Sub-Committees.

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