Review of the recommendations of the Sixth Session of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC)
58. The Chairperson of SAC presented for each of the Sub-Committees the recommendations adopted at the Sixth Session of the Committee and referred in this respect to documents GFCM/XXVIII/2003/5 and GFCM/XXVIII/2003/Inf.5.
59. The Commission acknowledged the suggestions and advice of SAC and reiterated its satisfaction for the work performed. It was noted that the mandate for SAC adopted at the Twenty-seventh Session covered two intersessional periods and that many recommendations from the SAC were related to the pursuit and fine-tuning of ongoing activities.
60. The Commission invited SAC to put more emphasis on a holistic approach to fisheries management especially through taking into account the multispecies character of most shared fisheries. This will require assessing more stocks caught in the same fisheries as well as strengthening coordination and integration of activities among the different Sub-Committees. It will also require ensuring that advice derived from stock and environmental assessments be translated into fisheries management advice that take into account the socio-economic impacts of measures being suggested.
61. With regard in particular to the advice derived from the work of the Sub-Committee for Stock Assessment, the Commission reiterated the need to take into consideration the mixed nature of several fisheries in order to make further progress toward ensuring multispecies stock assessments, particularly in relation to fishing effort reduction. It was noted, however, that from a methodological point of view, multispecies methods were not easily applicable to all Mediterranean fisheries and that monospecific assessments could, in some instances, help in assessing the state of specific multispecies fisheries.
62. The Commission acknowledged the advice submitted by SAC/SCSA and observed that they were consistent with Recommendation GFCM/2002/1 regarding the management of selected demersal and small pelagic species adopted at the Twenty-seventh session of GFCM. The Plenary confirmed the validity of Recommendation 2002/1 in the light of the assessments presented at the session and renewed commitment for its implementation.
63. The delegate from Morocco emphasized the need to consider different ways to reduce fishing effort, taking into account the complexity of parameters used to measure and control the fishing effort, including power engine, time at sea, fleet reduction, closed seasons and areas, etc. The practical applicability and gradual implementation of such measures should also be considered by SAC.
64. The Commission endorsed the updated list of shared stocks and priority species. It underlined the high importance to be given to the work related to Biological Reference Points.
65. The Commission requested SAC to pursue and extend the studies on socio-economic indicators together with the identification of reference points for the evaluation of the socio-economic impact of advice on fishery management. It further acknowledged the importance of the work on Operational Units (OUs), which deserved a high priority among SAC activities. It noted with satisfaction the proposal made to implement pilot projects on OUs with the support of the CopeMed and AdriaMed projects.
66. The delegate from Tunisia alluded to the interactions between fisheries and aquaculture activities in the coastal zone and suggested developing within the GFCM Statistics and Information System, links between fisheries data and SIPAM aquaculture information, as currently be initiated between SIPAM and FIGIS. The Secretariat informed the Commission that the MedFisis project will include the incorporation of SIPAM as well as other sources of data while establishing the GFCM Information System.
67. Several delegations expressed a feeling that advice emaning from SCMEE were too ambitious, particularly when considering the relatively poor attendance to the meetings of that Sub-Committee.
68. The Observer from IUCN informed the Commission on relevant conclusions and recommendations adopted at a meeting held on Mediterranean sharks (San Marino, October 2003) and at the IUCN World Congress on Marine Protected Areas (Durban, September 2003). The Commission also noted that the CITES Animal Committee suggested that a Joint group of specialists from the IUCN and SAC should review progress made in the implementation of the FAO IPOA on Sharks.
69. The Commission reiterated the need to strengthen functional cooperation between SAC and other international environmental agencies, especially UNEP and the SAP/BIO project. It recommended that the Secretariat invite UNEP and other associated bodies (Barcelona Convention and ACCOBAMS) to present their plans of action and other relevant instruments at the Twenty-ninth Session of GFCM. The Secretariat was also encouraged to pursue cooperative efforts with these organizations and, as appropriate, to participate in their meetings in order to liaise on issues of interest to GFCM.