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Report of the Ad Hoc Meeting of Experts on the Independent Appraisal of the Achievements of the Scientific Adivsory Committee (1999-2003). Rome, 27-28 August 2003


PREPARATION OF THIS DOCUMENT

This is the final report approved by the participants at the ad hoc Meeting of Experts on the independent appraisal of the achievements of the GFCM Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) (1999-2003), held in Rome from 27-28 August 2003.

Distribution:

Participants
GFCM mailing list
FAO Fisheries Officers, Regional and Subregional Offices

OPENING OF THE MEETING

1. The ad hoc Meeting of experts on the independent appraisal of the achievements of the GFCM Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) was held in Rome, Italy, from 27 to 28 August 2003. The meeting was attended by the following Experts in their personal capacity: Messrs S. Ben Salem, M. Camilleri, J.A Camiñas, N. Hadjistephanou, C. Piccineti. The meeting acknowledged the absence of Mr S. Madjdalani and extended him its wishes for a speedy recovery. A list of the participants, including Officers from the GFCM Secretariat is attached as Appendix B to this report.

2. The meeting was opened by Mr Alain Bonzon, Secretary of the Commission, who welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of appraising the work of SAC taking into consideration the probable entry into force of the GFCM Autonomous budget in the near future. The Consultant, Mr Jean-Jacques Maguire, was introduced to the participants.

3. The Secretary provided the background to this ad hoc meeting of Experts. He recalled an initial proposal by COPEMED and the wish expressed by the Second Coordinating meeting of SAC Sub-committees[1] that a review of SAC undertakings, especially its modus operandi since its inception in 1999 be undertaken. This suggestion was further endorsed by SAC at its Sixth session. The Committee welcomed the offer made by the Secretariat to undertake an evaluation of its achievements by an independent consultant, the report of which will be reviewed by a limited number of experts from SAC taking into account both geographical balance and proper representation of the Sub-committees. SAC further recommended that the outcome of the evaluation be presented to the Commission[2].

4. Mr Matthew Camilleri was elected Chairman of the Meeting.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE MEETING

5. The Group of Experts adopted the Agenda attached as Appendix A. In doing so, the participants agreed upon working arrangements and the process to be followed, that is: to undertake a peer review of the draft report of the Consultant and to summarize for each of the Agenda items the consensual views expressed by the Group.

6. Following a brief presentation of the report of the Consultant, the Group of experts expressed their appreciation on the appraisal made, and considered it a useful support for their self-assessing of the status of SAC. Meanwhile, the Group noted, inter alia, that the presentation stressed that:

7. The Group also agreed to enclose the report of the independent Consultant as Appendix D of this report. It further acknowledged that both reports should be formally considered external from SAC.

8. The Group subsequently felt more appropriate to acknowledge only briefly SAC scientific achievements, in order to concentrate, on the basis of SAC major strength and weaknesses, on the identification of possible scenario/options in term of working mechanisms, with the view to providing the Commission with preliminary elements to address the major limitations faced by the Committee over the recent years.

MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS OF SAC

9. The Expert Group did not attempt to summarize all the achievements of SAC, its Sub-committees and Working groups for the period of their existence (1999-2003). Rather, it choose to highlight some of the major accomplishments to help the Commission discuss the review of SAC. The most tangible achievements can be found in the SAC reports. Tables listing the meetings of SAC and its subsidiaries and providing information on attendance are attached as Appendix C. Forty five meetings have been organized between 1999 and 2003, in which all together, over 900 scientists (excluding experts from the GFCM Secretariat) participated.

10. The Group pointed out however that achievements are both tangible and intangible, some of them produced immediate results whereas others might bear fruit in the future. An example of the former was the output of the SAC ad hoc Working group on Management Units. The latter entails most of the issues which require devising and testing robust common methodological base. This is the case for example with the on going process toward establishing the concept of Operational Units which, at maturity would allow bio-economic monitoring of multispecies fisheries for each GFCM Geographical sub-areas.

11. The following were among the main achievements identified by the Expert Group.

12. SAC has become the body recognized in the international arena as the scientific reference committee for fishery advice on demersal and small-pelagic fisheries in the Mediterranean.

13. SAC has become the common, stable and multidisciplinary committee for the analysis and the scientific discussion of fishery issues in the Mediterranean.

14. SAC has established a stable scientific network made up of two layers:

15. SAC has addressed the two main components of its statutory mandate:

16. SAC has enabled scientists, including the most eminent ones, from most disciplines and from all Mediterranean countries, regardless of the country’s wealth, to have the opportunity to participate as equals in the scientific analysis process. SAC has acted as a mediator between divergent views whenever necessary.

17. SAC has provided a forum where FAO Regional Projects could get guidance to organize their activities in a coordinated way, taking care of GFCM requirements.

18. SAC has become the GFCM instrument able to evaluate and analyse proposals from its subsidiaries and to elaborate regular and ad hoc advice on fishery management issues as requested by the Commission.

19. SAC has introduced and developed for the Commission new management options and tools (e.g: Geographical Management Units/Sub-areas, Operational Units, Reference Points in the context of the Precautionary Approach, Ecosystem approach to fisheries management, socio-economic indicators, etc.) to be considered for Mediterranean fishery management.

20. SAC, through the GFCM/ICCAT Ad Hoc Working Group on Large Pelagics, has been able to interpret the joint analyses and discussions, including some of the ICCAT recommendations, and adapt them into GFCM recommendations. The joint Ad Hoc GFCM- ICCAT Working Group on Sustainable Tuna Farming is another area of useful cooperation with other scientific groups.

21. SAC has favoured the participation of representatives from various NGO’s, incorporating, when possible, their views and positions into SAC advice and is working on ensuring greater private sector involvement in its research activities.

22. From the beginnings of GFCM, Mediterranean scientists and managers have been working together without the benefit of common terminology. Through SAC, they can now benefit from a Glossary of common terms, and their definitions, useful to the communication and understandings to all the parties interested in Mediterranean fisheries.

23. In order to obtain fishery statistical information from the countries that did not benefit from ADRIAMED and COPEMED technical assistance, SAC promoted the formulation of a project for fishery statistics aiming at the harmonization of national statistical data into a Mediterranean regional model (MEDFISIS).

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF CURRENT SAC PROCESS

24. The Group of experts noted that some weaknesses have been inherited from the previous structures and are external constraints imposed on SAC and on which SAC had no control. The overlap with two other regulatory bodies (ICCAT, European Commission), the absence of an autonomous budget of the Commission and of secured national financial support for individual scientists or institutes, limited data submission from GFCM Members hampering scientific analysis, or the inability to properly address Black Sea issues are examples of external constraints to SAC. Salient strengths and weaknesses of the Committee are summarized in the table below[3].

Strengths

Weaknesses

Made it possible to establish disciplinary networks

Disciplinary structure of subcommittees is an impediment to multidisciplinary approach

Provides forum for disciplinary developments (e.g. socio-economic indicators) and the adoption of common methodologies and standards (all subcommittees)

Programme of work of SAC rubberstamped by GFCM without securing financial support. Sub-committees agenda have expanded and diverged over time. Reference Framework for the annual mandate of SAC broad and unrealistic. Lack of medium term strategic research planning in line with management objectives

Provides capacity building and training

Number of annual meetings not sustainable, participation decreasing

Achieved consensus scientific advice

Work not integrated across disciplines to produce useable fishery management advice. (Under current system, could have 4 meetings of different subcommittees to produce analyses leading to one piece of advice).

Produced considerable reports and analytical work, especially on stock assessments

Absence of common (GFCM/SAC) information system and limited finalization and dissemination of outputs

Benefited considerably from support of FAO Regional Projects

Achievements have been largely due to FAO Regional projects

Identified unifying concept of operational units

Requires substantial coordination between subcommittees and its network experts. System of national focal points did not work satisfactorily

Made data and reports available on web sites (ftp)

Subcommittee on Stock Assessment has produced single species assessment - while recognising the essentially multispecies nature of Mediterranean fisheries

Facilitates regional (CopeMed, AdriaMed,MedsudMed Medfisis) and interagency (ICCAT; UNEP) cooperation

SAC process has one more step than other similar fishery management advisory systems (WG, Subcommittees, SAC)

Has the ability to draw upon national expertise

Reporting status of GFCM/ICCAT WG on Large Pelagics unclear

It is a reference committee concerning scientific views of the fisheries resources state

Absence of statutory budget for SAC intersessional activities

Addressed greater involvement of stakeholders (private sector, NGOs) in its work

Often, experts participate on a personal basis, limited institutional links to ensure sustained involvements of institutes leading to high turnover of national experts


Roles and responsibilities of various players (Chair, Vice-chairs, Coordinators, Focal points, facilitators, individual scientists, Secretariat, etc.) need to be clearly defined


Did not allow multidisciplinary considerations of new management approaches such as MPAs and their implications

OPTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENTS

Preliminary considerations

25. Principles relevant to the consideration of SAC mode of operation

26. Working mechanisms

27. Methodological approach

Tentative options

28. In order for SAC to provide usable fishery management advice, such advice should take into consideration biological, environmental, socio-economic and institutional aspects, that is the advice should be multidisciplinary and integrated. The current mode of operation of SAC does not encourage the integration of the disciplines, and the advice produced has been mostly along single disciplinary lines, and also on a single species basis. Therefore, in order to produce integrated multidisciplinary advice, the Group of expert expressed the view that the mode of operation of SAC should be modified. The Group however acknowledged that the disciplinary approach has been successful in starting to build networks of specialists and disciplinary standards. Nevertheless, these networks remain fragile.

29. The Group noted that financial support for SAC activities must be secured, whether changes are implemented or not. It further noted that other external factors, particularly the timely provision of requested data as well as the various incentive for ensuring adequate participation in the Working groups should be addressed as well.

30. Taking into account the preliminary considerations above and the increase of transversal issues of competence of more than one sub-committee, the Group sketched four options as examples of SAC possible mode of operations for consideration by the Commission. The first option implies no changes: SAC has been reasonably successful over its five years of operation, and the Group believes that the status quo is still a viable option in the short-term, particularly with the increase of transversal/multidisciplinary Working groups and the establishment of the Co-ordinating Meeting of the Sub-committees[4]. The Group of experts noted that the other options needed to be fine tuned and that more options could be developed.

31. Option 1: Status quo

a) Working mechanism: The SAC Co-ordinating Meeting of the Sub-committes (SACCC) is composed of the SAC Chairperson, the two SAC Vice-chairs, the four Co-ordinators of the SAC Sub-committees, the GFCM Secretariat including the FAO Technical Backstopping Officers, and the Co-ordinators of FAO Regional Projects in support of GFCM. The SACCC ensures that information on the biological, environmental and socio-economic aspects of fishery is made available for the management. Disciplinary advice is drafted by the Sub-committees and adopted by the whole SAC guarantying multidisciplinary advice to the GFCM.

b) Function: during a meeting immediately following that of the GFCM, the SACCC organizes the work of the intersessional period and it prepares an operational programme of work for the Sub-committees based on those activities proposed by SAC and endorsed by GFCM, and on the biennial “Reference Framework for the Work of SAC”. The operational work programme should include proper description and terms of reference of the expected outputs for each main activities, time frame, and identification of the individual(s) responsible, venue and specific budget allocation. The advice drafted by the disciplinary Sub-committees is reviewed at the following SAC meeting. SAC identifies transversal issues that need a multidisciplinary approach and creates ad hoc Working groups reporting directly to SAC to address them.

c) Financial implications: the travel cost and associated expenses of the SACCC are mainly supported by the GFCM Members and the FAO Regional projects in support to GFCM. The Group noted that FAO Regional projects and the Secretariat have been essential to many achievements of SAC. The continuation of these projects and their extension to the whole GFCM area may be necessary. A budget dedicated to the planning and execution of the work programme is, however, vital.

32. Option 2: Improved Status Quo

a) Working mechanism: A SAC Executive Committee (SACEC) composed of the SAC Chairperson, the two SAC Vice-chairs and the four Co-ordinators of the SAC Sub-committees replaces the co-ordinating meeting (SACCC) of the Sub-committees. The SACEC works in close cooperation with the GFCM Secretariat, including the FAO backstopping Officers and the Co-ordinators of the Regional Projects. The SACEC ensures that information on the biological, environmental and socio-economic aspects of fishery management is made available for the drafting of fishery management advice. The advice is drafted by the SACEC and adopted by the whole SAC guarantying multidisciplinary advice to the GFCM. In some cases, the SACEC may set up ad hoc expert groups to further analyse and draft the advice. The SACEC gets most of the disciplinary work done through existing subcommittees.

b) Function: during a meeting immediately following that of the GFCM, the SACEC organizes the work of the intersessional period and it prepares a task-oriented co-ordinated operational programme of work for the subcommittees, ad hoc Working Groups, or commissioned experts in order to answer the questions asked by the CFCM. A second meeting of SACEC takes place after the co-ordinated programme of work has been completed by the subcommittees, ad hoc Working groups or the commissioned experts, but before the session of the Committe, to prepare the integrated advice for adoption by SAC.

c) Financial implications: the travel cost and associated expenses of the SACEC need to be supported by the Commission, the FAO Projects in support of GFCM or by voluntary contribution from GFCM Member(s). A budget dedicated to the execution of the work programme is vital and a funding source will need to be identified before the elements of the work programme are assigned. FAO regional projects in support of GFCM have been essential to many of the SAC achievements. The continuation of these projects and their extension to the whole GFCM area may be necessary.

Under this option, enhanced coordination and planning of SAC activities is addressed.

33. Option 3: Ad hoc subsidiary bodies only

a) Working mechanism: A SAC Executive Committee (SACEC) composed of the SAC Chairperson, the two SAC Vice-chairs, and the GFCM Secretariat is created. The SACEC ensures that information on the biological, environmental and socio-economic aspects of fishery management is made available and integrated for the drafting of fishery management advice. The advice is drafted directly by ad hoc multidisciplinary expert groups but always adopted by the whole SAC guarantying multidisciplinary advice to the GFCM. Disciplinary subcommittees do not exist under this option and their Co-ordinators are therefore not members of SACEC.

b) Function: during a meeting immediately following that of the GFCM, the SACEC organizes the work of the intersessional period and it prepares a task-oriented co-ordinated operational programme of work for ad hoc Working groups, or commissioned experts in order to answer the questions asked by the CFCM. A second meeting of SACEC is not necessary because the advice is drafted directly by the ad hoc or commissioned multidisciplinary expert groups. The SACEC must agree, however, that the ad hoc Working groups or commissioned experts have satisfactorily met their tasks before the draft advice is sent to SAC for adoption prior to being sent to the GFCM. The function of SACED is different from that under option 2. The advice is drafted by ad hoc multidisciplinary expert groups and sent directly to SAC for adoption.

c) Financial implications: the travel cost and associated expenses of the SACEC need to be supported by the Commission, the FAO Projects in support of GFCM or by voluntary contributions from GFCM Member(s). A budget dedicated to the execution of the work programme is vital and a funding source will need to be identified before the elements of the work programme are assigned.. The continuation of FAO Regional projects and their extension to the whole GFCM area may be necessary.

34. Option 4: Distinct Scientific and Advisory functions

a) Working mechanism: A SAC Executive Committee (SACEC) composed of the SAC Chairperson, the two SAC Vice-chairs, and the GFCM Secretariat is created. The SACEC ensures that information on the biological, environmental and socio-economic aspects of fishery management is made available for the drafting of fishery management advice. The advice is drafted directly by ad hoc multidisciplinary expert groups but adopted by the whole SAC guarantying the integrated multidisciplinary advice to the GFCM. Disciplinary sub-committees do exist for scientific purposes, but they are generally not involved in the fishery management advisory process under this option. The structure is therefore very similar to option 3 in terms of provision of advice. Coordinators of Sub-committee may participate, as necessary, to SACEC in relation to operative planning tasks.

b) Function: during a meeting immediately following that of the GFCM, the SACEC organizes the work of the intersessional period and it prepares a task-oriented co-ordinated operational programme of work for ad hoc Working groups, or commissioned experts in order to answer the questions asked by the CFCM. As for option 3, a second meeting of SACEC is not necessary because the advice is drafted directly by the ad hoc or commissioned multidisciplinary expert groups. The SACEC must agree, however, that the ad hoc Working groups or commissioned experts have satisfactorily met their tasks before the draft advice is sent to SAC for approval. For the scientific function, meetings are held as considered necessary by the Commission or by SAC. Under this option, the provision of management advice is streamlined, as in option 3, while allowing disciplinary scientific developments.

c) Financial implications: the travel cost and associated expenses of the SACEC need to be supported by the Commission, the FAO Regional Projects or by voluntary contribution from GFCM Member(s). A budget dedicated to the execution of the work programme is vital and a funding source will need to be identified before the elements of the work programme are assigned. The continuation of FAO Regional projects and their extension to the whole GFCM area may be necessary.

35. An assessment of how each option meets the principles mentioned in the preliminary considerations (section 5.1 above) is summarized in the table below.

Principle[5]

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Fishery management advice for the GFCM area should be multidisciplinary and holistic

This has not been the case. Advice has been based mostly on single species stock (shared or not) assessments

Yes

Yes

Yes

Provision of advice is flexible, dynamic, efficient and effective

No, each subcommittee is involved separately on issues that may be common

Could be an improvement on option 1, depending how much work is done through standing committees versus ad hoc WG and commissioned one

Yes, by design

Yes, by design

Integrated advice is produced through a single advisory process

SAC produce one advice by analysing the 4 SCs independent draft advice. The 4 subcommittees can be assimilated to four advisory processes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Integrated scientific advice is drafted by the most appropriate group of selected experts

Advice is not totally integrated. Disciplinary advice may be considered to be drafted by most appropriate expert group

This may or may not be the case, depending on the specific questions being asked, and the expertise of the SACEC members

Yes, by design

Yes, by design

Scientific advice is adopted and produce by SAC.

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

36. The Group of experts did not attempt to reach an agreement on what option it preferred. The Group recognized that several other combinations are possible and those sketched above are simply to help the thinking process on how to improve the efficiency of the SAC process to achieve its two main statutory functions, providing fishery management advice and fostering research. The Group also recognized that having the right people involved at the right places is probably more important than structures and working mechanisms and that the considerable achievements of SAC over its short existence have been largely due to its people and the budgetary support of the institutes and the regional FAO Projects. In this respect, it is important to note that chairs, vice-chairs, co-ordinators, facilitators be willing to assume their roles, and that their institutes agree to support them by allowing them time to work on SAC issues and supporting them financially to participate in SAC activities.

37. Finally, the Group of experts noted that, until the adoption of an appropriate autonomous budget, the question of the structure and mode of operation of the advisory system may very well be largely a theoretical question. In the context of the autonomous budget, the size and composition of an expanded GFCM Secretariat could have an influence on the structure and operation of the SAC.

ANY OTHER MATTERS

38. There were no any other matters.

APPENDIX

APPENDIX A: AGENDA

1. Opening of and arrangements for the meeting
2. Adoption of the Agenda
3. SAC major achievements
4. SAC strengths and weaknesses
5. Options for improvements
6. Any other matters

APPENDIX B: LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

EXPERTS

Scander BEN SALEM
Economist
INSTM Port de pêche
La Goulette 2060
Tunisia
Tel: +216 01 735 848
Fax: +216 01 732622
Email: scander.bensalem@instm.rnrt.tn

Matthew CAMILLERI
Fisheries Consultant
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
Torri San Lucjan
M’xlokk
Tel: (+356) 650 934
Fax: (+356) 659 380
E-mail: matthew.camilleri@gov.mt

Juan A. CAMIÑAS
Director
Centro Oceanográfíco de Málaga
Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnologia
Apto. 285, Puerto Pesquero
29640 Fuengirola
Tel: (+34 95) 247 81 48
Fax: (+34 952) 246 38 08
Email: jacaminas@ma.ieo.es

Nicos HADJISTEPHANOU
Fisheries Officer
Department of Fisheries and Marine Research
Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment
1416 Nicosia
Email: nhsteph@spidernet.com.cy

Corrado PICCINETTI
Laboratorio di Biologia Marina Pesca
Viale Adriatico 1/N
61032 Fano
Email: cpiccinetti@mobilia.it

SECRETARIAT

Alain BONZON
GFCM Secretary/Secrétaire de la CGPM
Senior Fishery Liaison Officer/Fonctionnaire principal de liaison (pêches)
Fishery Policy and Planning Division/ Division des politiques et de la planification de la pêche
Tel: (+39 06) 57056441
Fax: (+39 06) 57056500
Email: alain.bonzon@fao.org

Benedict P. SATIA
Chief/Chef
Fishery Policy and Planning Division/Division des politiques et de la planification de la pêche
Tel: (+39 06) 57052847
Fax: (+39 06) 57056500
Email: benedict.satia@fao.org

Jean-Jacques MAGUIRE
Consultant
1450 Godefroy
Sillery, Québec, Canada, G1T 2E4
Tel: 001418 688 5501
Fax: 001418 688 7924
Email: jjmaguire@sympatico.ca

Rino COPPOLA
Fishery Resources Officer/Analyste des ressources halieutiques
Fishery Resources Division/Division des ressources halieutiques
Tel: (+39 06) 57056279
Fax: (+39 06) 57053020
Email: rino.coppola@fao.org

Cassandra DE YOUNG (Ms)
Fishery Policy and Planning Division/Division des politiques et de la planification de la pêche
Tel: (+39 06) 57054335
Fax: (+39 06) 57056500
Email: cassandra.deyoung@fao.org

APPENDIX C: SAC MEETINGS AND PARTICIPATION

(in English only)

Member Attendance

1999

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

%

Member/SAC Session

1

2

3

4

5

6


Albania

+


+

+

+

+

84

Algeria

+

+


+


+

67

Bulgaria

+






17

Croatia

+

+


+

+


67

Cyprus

+

+



+

+

67

Egypt


+


+

+


50

EU

+

+

+

+

+

+

100

France

+

+

+

+

+

+

100

Greece

+

+

+

+

+

+

100

Israel

+

+

+




50

Italy

+

+

+

+

+

+

100

Japan

+

+

+

+

+

+

100

Lebanon







0

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya



+

+

+


50

Malta

+

+

+

+

+

+

100

Monaco

+

+

+




50

Morocco

+

+

+

+

+

+

100

Romania

+



+


+

50

Slovenia[6]

/

/

+



+

50

Spain

+

+

+

+

+

+

100

Syrian Arab Republic

+

+



+

+

67

Tunisia

+

+

+

+

+


84

Turkey

+

+

+


+


67

Serbia and Montenegro[7]

/

/

/

/

/


0

Total Members (%)

86

77

65

74

70

58

-


SECTION

MEETINGS

Type

Dates

Year

Location

National Experts/NGOs

SAC

SAC 1

Annual Session

23-26 March

1999

Rome, Italy

48

SAC

SAC 2

Annual Session

7-10 June

1999

Rome, Italy

41

SAC

SAC 3

Annual Session

2-5 May

2000

Madrid, Spain

30

SAC

SAC 4

Annual Session

4-7 June

2001

Athens, Greece

33

SAC

SAC 5

Annual Session

1-4 July

2002

Rome, Italy

34

SAC

SAC 6

Annual Session

31 June-3 July

2003

Thessaloniki, Greece

32

SAC

WG Management Units

Working Group

23-25 January

2001

Alicante, Spain

17

SAC

1st WG Operational Units

Working Group

18-19 April

2001

Ancona, Italy

18

SAC

2nd WG Operational Units

Working Group

8-9 April

2003

Rome, Italy

8

SAC

1st Coordinating of Sub-committees

Meeting

09-May

2002

Barcelona, Spain

5

SAC

2nd Coordinating of Sub-committees

Meeting

06-June

2003

Nicosia, Cyprus

9

SAC

1st WG Sustainable Tuna Farming

Working Group

12-14 May

2003

Rome, Italy

22

SCESS

1st SCESS

Annual Session

26-28 April

2000

Madrid, Spain

4

SCESS

2nd SCESS

Annual Session

15-18 May

2001

Rome, Italy

10

SCESS

3rd SCESS

Annual Session

6-9 May

2002

Barcelona, Spain

9

SCESS

4th SCESS

Annual Session

3-6 June

2003

Nicosia, Cyprus

3

SCESS

1st WG Socio-Eco Indicators

Working Group

9-11 January

2001

Tunis, Tunisia

8

SCESS

2nd WG Socio-Eco Indicators

Working Group

11-13 March

2002

Salerno, Italy

13

SCESS

3rd WG Socio-Eco Indicators

Working Group

3-4 March

2003

Barcelona, Spain

9

SCMEE

1st SCMEE

Annual Session

26-28 April

2000

Madrid, Spain

17

SCMEE

2nd SCMEE

Annual Session

15-18 May

2001

Rome, Italy

20

SCMEE

3rd SCMEE

Annual Session

6-9 May

2002

Barcelona, Spain

7

SCMEE

4th SCMEE

Annual Session

3-6 June

2003

Nicosia, Cyprus

8

SCMEE

WG Marine Environment and Ecosystems

Working Group

26-28 February

2001

Palma di Mallorca, Spain

16

SCMEE

WG Anthropologic Effects & fish. Techn.

Working Group

27-28 March

2003

Salammbô, Tunisia

17

SCMEE

WG Ecology & Environment

Working Group

27-28 March

2003

Salammbô, Tunisia

17

SCSA

1st SCSA

Annual Session

8-9 June

1999

Rome, Italy

33

SCSA

2nd SCSA

Annual Session

26-28 April

2000

Madrid, Spain

23

SCSA

3rd SCSA

Annual Session

15-18 May

2001

Rome, Italy

26

SCSA

4th SCSA

Annual Session

6-9 May

2002

Barcelona, Spain

32

SCSA

5th SCSA

Annual Session

3-6 June

2003

Nicosia, Cyprus

20

SCSA

1st WG Demersal

Working Group

21-23 March

2000

Sète, France

46

SCSA

2nd WG Demersal

Working Group

13-16 March

2001

Tunis, Tunisia

32

SCSA

3rd WG Demersal

Working Group

20-22 March

2002

Rome, Italy

46

SCSA

4th WG Demersal

Working Group

12-14 March

2003

Tangiers, Morocco

15

SCSA

1st WG Small Pelagic

Working Group

1-3 March

2000

Fuengirola, Spain

29

SCSA

2nd WG Small Pelagic

Working Group

27-30 March

2001

Kavala

28

SCSA

3rd WG Small Pelagic

Working Group

20-22 March

2002

Rome, Italy

25

SCSA

4th WG Small Pelagic

Working Group

12-14 March

2003

Tangiers, Morocco

12

SCSA

WG Large Pelagic

Working Group

11-15 September

2000

La Valetta, Malta

33

SCSA

WG Large Pelagic

Working Group

15-19 April

2002

Slima, Malta

32

SCSI

1st SCSI

Annual Session

2-5 May

2000

Madrid, Spain

20

SCSI

2nd SCSI

Annual Session

15-18 May

2001

Rome, Italy

9

SCSI

3rd SCSI

Annual Session

6-9 May

2002

Barcelona, Spain

10

SCSI

4th SCSI

Annual Session

3-6 June

2003

Nicosia, Cyprus

11

GRAND TOTAL






937

APPENDIX D: INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE (SAC) OF THE GENERAL FISHERIES COMMISSION FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN (GFCM)

Prepared by

Jean-Jacques Maguire
1450 Godefroy
Sillery, Québec, Canada, G1T2E4
jjmaguire@sympatico.ca

INTRODUCTION

The Agreement establishing the General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean (GFCM) was approved by the FAO Conference at its fifth session in 1949. The Agreement came into force on 20 February 1952 and was subsequently amended three times, the most recent being in 1997[8]. In the 1997 amendment GFCM became the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean to reflect an increased commitment to achieving sustainable fisheries, and members agreed to give themselves a Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC).

At its Sixth Session, meeting, 30 June-3 July 2003, SAC agreed that an external review of its activities and achievements should be organised. The Terms of Reference specifically focused on the structure and operation of the Scientific Advisory Committee. The report of the review should identify the strengths and weaknesses of the present system and suggest ways to improve the operation and efficiency of SAC. Specific pieces of advice provided by SAC or by its Subcommittees are not commented on, but general comments on the nature of the advice are made, because they do impact on the overall operation of the SAC.

OBJECTIVE, STRUCTURE AND MODE OF OPERATION OF SAC

The Amendment to the GFCM Agreement and the creation of the Scientific Advisory Committee were the object of considerable discussion. At the 1997 GFCM meeting, the then existing Fishery Management Committee “strongly supported the establishment of a task-oriented scientific committee” (GFCM 1997, parag. 9f). At the time, SAC was tasked with stock assessment and related scientific studies and the “Council also urged SAC to take into account in its work statistics, social and economic issues related to fisheries.” (GFCM 1997, parag. 28). In these early discussions, the marine environment and ecosystems did not appear to be part of the mandate of the SAC, but at its first meeting, SAC proposed terms of reference for a subcommittee on the Marine Environment and Ecosystems.

In 1998, the Commission, “agreed that SAC should be in a position to provide independent scientific advice, free of any political consideration, composed of specialists. It was stressed that SAC should give advice on the questions that might be put to it by the Commission” (GFCM 1998a, parag. 37). This means that SAC was expected to respond to the questions posed by the Commission. SAC was not conceived as a body with the ability to set its own agenda, although it was asked to draft the agendas to be approved by the GFCM.

SAC was not to consider aquaculture issues, but the “GFCM has decided, however, to endow SAC with a broad and multidisciplinary mandate, encompassing the whole spectrum of technical issues related to fisheries conservation and management. Preliminary technical activities of the SAC will necessarily be carried out, however, within specific subsidiary bodies to be set up on an ad hoc basis and that the financing and operation of these will need to be taken into account at an early stage.” (GFCM 1998b, parag 36-44).

Three options were considered for the structure of SAC with respect to stock assessments: 1/ SAC does the assessment itself, 2/ SAC receives completed assessments from subsidiary bodies, 3/ SAC requests assessments from other organizations (CIESM?).

At its first meeting, in March 1999, the SAC agreed to have four subcommittees on Stock Assessment, Fishery Statistics and Information, Economic and Social Science, and Marine Environment and Ecosystems. The Subcommittees were expected to create ad hoc working groups. “The Committee believed that the role of the ad hoc working groups would be of high importance to the Scientific Advisory Committee itself. The Committee was in agreement that the Scientific Advisory Committee and its subsidiary bodies should adopt a problem-solving approach and therefore have a flexible structure at the level of the ad hoc working groups. The Committee recommended that some links be established between the Sub-Committees in order to avoid duplication of work. Joint activities between ad hoc working groups should also be envisaged. The Committee agreed that ad hoc working groups should report to the relevant Sub-Committee of competence. Under some circumstances, and according to the nature of the information required, the ad hoc working groups might report direct to the Scientific Advisory Committee” (SAC 1, parag. 36).

The agreed mandates of the four subcommittees are provide in SAC 1, appendix F (Stock Assessment, Economics and Social Sciences, Fishery Statistics and Information) and appendix G (Marine Environment and Ecosystems)

Sub-Committee for Stock Assessment (SCSA)

Sub-Committee on Economic and Social Sciences

Sub-Committee on Fishery Statistics and Information

Sub-Committee for Marine Environment and Ecosystems

The report of the Twenty-fourth Session of GFCM (parag 14) specifies that “The Scientific Advisory Committee, its sub-committees and any working group established under it, shall make every effort to reach agreement by consensus. If this is not possible, all views shall be reported to the Commission.”

The impressive amount of work done under the auspices of SAC did not happen by itself. The FAO Regional Projects, Copemed and Adriamed, contributed money to the preparation of studies that served as the basis of SAC discussions while the Chair as well as the coordinators had to contribute substantial effort in order to make things happen.

The first SAC meetings were held immediately after the subcommittee meetings, leaving only one week end for the subcommittees to prepare the reports to be reviewed by SAC. Subsequently, more time was allowed between the meetings of the subcommittees and those of the Committee, but this meant greater travelling expenses (SAC 3, parag. 53).

The various SAC reports, from the Third Session onwards propose very ambitious programmes of work, with probably too many meetings for the number of people that can meaningfully participate. This implies heavy workloads for the chair of the SAC, the subcommittee coordinators, the facilitators of the working groups and their various institutes. “The Committee recommended that the Coordinators of the Sub-Committees be financed by their member countries to attend SAC as well as GFCM Sessions” (SAC 5, parag. 16). This may represent an unbearable burden for the people involved and for their institutes. For reference, it should be noted that the chair of the Advisory Committee on Fishery Management (ACFM) of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is remunerated, either directly or through his institutes and that the expenses of members of ACFM (travel expenses and DSA) are paid.

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF CURRENT SAC PROCESSES

Although it is possible to improve an organization by capitalising on its strengths, the priority normally goes to rectifying its weaknesses. Consequently, this report will focus more on the weaknesses of the SAC process than on its strengths.

The structure of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), which provide scientific advice for fishery management to some its member countries (mostly Iceland, Norway, and Denmark on behalf of Greenland and the Faroe Islands) and fisheries commissions, including the European Commission (EC), the International Baltic Sea Fisheries Commission (IBSFC), the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) was one of the model to design the SAC process. The functioning of ICES and of its Advisory Committee on Fishery Management (ACFM) with its numerous working groups providing management advice on more than 140 fish stocks every year, may appear impressive and enviable from the outside, but from the inside[9], it is clear that the ICES advisory process is overworked, prone to errors and slow to respond to requests. A recent communication from the European Commission (EC 2003b), a major recipient of ICES advice, suggests that it finds the work of ICES unsatisfactory. This topic will be discussed further under the heading “The ICES model of providing advice”.

SAC has adopted a “traditional” structure with disciplinary subcommittees (Stock Assessment, Economics and Social Sciences, Statistics and Information, Marine Environment and Ecosystem) and its approach to the creation of working groups has also been traditional (Pelagic, Demersal). Such a “traditional” approach is both a strength and a weakness. It is a strength because it has demonstrated in several other fora that it could deliver advice for fishery management, but it is a weakness because it prevents the implementation of the multispecies, multidisciplinary, and ecosystem approaches that are increasingly recognized as being needed in order to achieve successful fishery management.

Although the functioning of ICES was one of the model to design the SAC process, the result has more steps than in ICES. In ICES, the Working Groups are the equivalent of the Subcommittees and their output goes directly to ACFM where the advice is formulated. In the SAC process, the output of a WG goes to its parent subcommittee whose report goes to the SAC who reviews the report and formulates advice if necessary or relevant. Having an additional step should be considered a weakness. The longer the chain between the original work and the formulation of advice, the greater the probability that something will go wrong in some way.

The fact that the Commission formally provides terms of reference is a strength, but it could become largely a theoretical one if the Commission approves more or less without changes the terms of reference drafted by the SAC, its subcommittees and their working groups. However, should the contrary occur, the process would become highly frustrating for the scientists if the Commission asked them to provide draft terms of reference to later request them to work on something completely different. If the agenda became to be determined entirely by the SAC and its subcommittees, it would become a weakness preventing it from being an organization at the service of the Commission. Should the GFCM provide its own terms of reference, without asking the SAC process to draft them, it would be a strength - the science is there to serve fishery management.

The strong leadership provided by the SAC chair, and the dedication of subcommittee coordinators and working group chairs have been an asset. However, it is generally difficult to maintain such dedication in the long term.

The recognition by SAC that multispecies and multidisciplinary aspects needed to be taken into account, and the efforts to coordinate between the subcommittees has been a strength. However, the SCSA has turned out to be mostly single species and mono disciplinary. That is a weakness recognized by the SAC: “The Chairperson of SAC informed the Commission that an increasing number of issues and scientific activities were cross-sectional, and fell under the mandate of more than one subsidiary body of the Committee. In this regard, SAC felt that the holding of meetings of Coordinators of its Sub-Committees was essential for the proper functioning of the Committee, and sought guidance from the Commission on this issue, as well as on the participation of the Coordinators of the Sub-Committees in GFCM sessions at the expense of the Commission” (GFCM 27, parag. 16). Despite the original intent, the SAC process has evolved towards a relatively elaborate structure that is in fact an impediment to the delivery of multidisciplinary, ecosystem-based fishery management advice. Two of the main options to the cross-sectional issues are: 1/ greater coordination between the subcommittees, or 2/ a leaner structure allowing a targeted multidisciplinary approach to solving problems.

As a result of the single species, mono disciplinary drift, SCSA 2001 recommended doing yearly stock assessments. This would be a major mistake. Those fishery management advisory system that have fallen in the trap of providing yearly assessments are trying to get out of it for several reasons. The first being that it is overly expensive in human and financial terms, but coming a close second is the fact that yearly updates vary considerably more than the stocks really do, thereby creating a credibility problem. This would be particularly problematic in the Mediterranean where apparent changes in abundance could not be differentiated from migration or availability changes given that biological units have not been identified. Closely linked with this problem, it would be a waste of time to try to identify single species reference points for species harvested in multispecies fisheries in the Mediterranean. The fishery management context in the Mediterranean does not lend itself to this approach, and it would lead to unnecessary frustration for all interested parties. Clearly, the single species drift is a weakness of the SAC process. To be of any use in the Mediterranean, reference points would have to be multispecies reference points.

The poor participation by scientists from the Eastern Mediterranean is seen by SAC as a weakness. The solutions will depend on the causes. If the reason is lack of funds, no amount of asking for participation will solve the problem. If the reason is that Eastern Mediterranean scientists contribute to other forums, then perhaps there is no need for them to participate in SAC. If the reason is that the agenda are not of interest to them, then the agenda should be adjusted, as long as it stays within the SAC mandate to become of interest. No solution can be found until the reasons for the lack of participation are found.

SAC process appears to have become relatively formal within very few years. SAC has adopted formal rules of procedures and a work planning process, as called for in the Agreement, as amended, constituting the GFCM. Here again, operating with formal rules is both a strength and a weakness. It is also a by-product of creating “standing committees”. True problem - solving, task-oriented scientific groups have little margin to deviate from their tasks.

As a result of the formal rules of procedures, sometimes, statements made at SAC are attributed to countries. In scientific discussions, anonymity may help reach consensus and “depoliticize” the debate. When participants want others to know who said what, it is generally a sign that “politics” may have crept in the process. If that were the case, that would be a weakness.

After only a few years of SAC operations, unrealistic expectations of scientists were confronted with reality: “High prospects had been put on the new GFCM by Mediterranean fisheries scientists, expecting it to function as other international commissions involved in stock assessment and fisheries management. In order to reach this goal, four SCs and several WGs, as well as ad hoc WGs, were created and are going on. Unfortunately, two years later, it must be recognized that little assessments have been made and not much useful recommendations can be done for fisheries management, although it must be recognized for the SC that data necessary to carry out assessment exists (but not always are available), at least for some MU. In this context, this SC felt that it is loosing its credibility for SAC and strongly expressed its concerns about its role and the future of SAC and GFCM. Through the SAC, this situation should be highlighted to the GFCM members for discuss during the next meeting of the Commission, recommending them to intervene for the respect and maintenance of the rules fixed for GFCM and accepted by each member two years ago” (SAC 4, parag. 43). This is an overly harsh criticism of the SAC process and of its subcommittees. The objective of a task-oriented, problem-solving group is not to do assessment for the sake of doing assessments. As indicated in the section “The ICES model of providing advice”, doing lots of assessments every year is no guarantee of successful fishery management.

Individual stock assessments were not reviewed, but discussions with various SAC participants gave the impression that some assessments that should have probably been rejected were accepted in order not to discourage participation in the process. If it did happen, acceptance of less than satisfactory scientific analyses would be a weakness. High scientific standards must be upheld throughout the process.

As with other items mentioned in this section, SAC advice is both a strength and a weakness. The very fact that consensual advice was formulated on several issues is in itself a considerable achievement. Some of the advice provided was also very sensible: SAC 2, parag. 47: “...the main conclusion on protection of spawners is that care should be taken before starting new fisheries that might impact spawners producing recruits for shelf fisheries.” This is good advice and not dogmatic. Apparently, however, such fisheries for spawners in deep waters have nevertheless developed (EC 2003b). Other pieces of advice have to be considered as weaknesses: SAC 4, parag. 33 for anchovy: “As a conclusion of this discussion, it was decided to recommend to GFCM to set up a minimum legal size at length of first maturity as a principle to be applied for all the region, with the precautionary approach.” The effect of establishing minimum landing sizes are very well known: increases in discards if the measure is implemented without a corresponding increase in mesh size. Should increased mesh size accompany the measure, survival of the fish passing through the meshes should be verified. Similarly when SCSA recommends that assessments should be done every year. The fishery management system in the Mediterranean does not require that type of monitoring, and that is a strength of the management system, and by ricochet it should also be one for SAC.

The current SAC process relies more or less on the good will of participants and their home institutes and it requires substantial co-ordination by the chair and the various co-ordinators. In other fora, similar systems operate more smoothly because they have been in existence for a longer time, but also possibly because human and financial resources are better matched to the tasks at hand. An alternate systems, without “standing” subcommittees or working groups, and relying on commissioned work could be no more expensive and possibly considerably more efficient and effective.

The trawl survey results represent a source of information that should be exploited more in order to monitor the changes in abundance of individual species and identify species assemblages.

The SCSA does make the distinction between growth overfishing and recruitment overfishing in its work. This is an improvement compared with several other fora, but it could be more explicitly said that growth overfishing is not always a serious problem and that it could be tolerated or even an accepted objective from a societal perspective. There is therefore a need to be highly specific about preventing recruitment overfishing, but mild growth overfishing could be tolerated. Using growth overfishing to decide on conservation measures creates a credibility problem for science: the stock and the fishery may be doing fine, but science calls for reductions in fishing mortality that may not be necessary.

The SAC has done more socio-economic work and analyses than other fishery commissions and this is a strength. The work does not seem to have been used in the formulation of management advice, however.

The Marine Environment and Ecosystems Subcommittee was tasked with assessing the effect of fishing on the environment. More emphasis could have been placed on the effect of the environment on fishery resources.

Early discussions in GFCM about the creation of a scientific advisory committee and in the first meeting of the SAC itself, clearly identified the importance of having a scientific committee that would solve problems and be task-oriented. During the course of its evolution, partly because of its structure and partly because of the way specific work programme have been designed an approved, SAC, its Subcommittees and their Working Groups have tended to drift away from that ideal. The creation of standing subcommittees may in fact be incompatible with a task-oriented problem-solving approach. Standing subcommittees have a tendency to drift towards generating their own work program. In addition, they are generally created on a disciplinary basis which tends to become an impediment to the provision of multidisciplinary advice.

Although not formally part of the SAC process, it is clear that the two FAO Regional Projects, Copemed and Adriamed have been substantial assets to the SAC. Their valuable/substantial contribution to the achievements of the SAC implies that the Committee would probably have been less successful without their contribution. The two FAO Regional Projects have also made possible another strength of SAC, the commissioning of specific studies by recognized experts or institutes. This has been a considerable asset in the work of the Committee and one that could become increasingly important in the future work of the Committee.

IMPROVED FUNCTIONING AND EFFICIENCY

The ICES model of providing advice

Almost all publications reviewed mention the Mediterranean paradox: fisheries have existed in the Mediterranean for millennia, by modern standards fishery management has been almost non-existent, yet fisheries remain productive and in fact catches may have increased. Féral (2001) suggests that strong fishery management has in fact existed all along, except it was not implemented by governments, but locally through fishermen’s organizations. Governments became involved in fishery development in the 1960s, however, resulting in the creation of a semi-industrial sector not submitted to the traditional local control of fishing and, over time, the integrity of the local control may have eroded (Féral 2001).

Despite this possible erosion of local fishery management, the status of fishery resources in the Mediterranean is generally no worst than in areas of the Atlantic under the European Common Fishery Policy. Fishery management has therefore been no less successful in the Mediterranean with respect to protection of the resource. But that is no great reason for comfort however, because fishery management world-wide can hardly be described as a success. In fact, there is an increased recognition that the techno-scientific approach to fishery management, as applied in the North Atlantic since the mid 1960s, has not brought the expected benefits. There is therefore little to be expected from trying to implement such an approach in areas that have been spared, such as the Mediterranean. As Féral (2001) suggests, it could be preferable to strengthen and support those co-management mechanisms that still exist. Science could play an important role in helping the process.

The Communication by the EC on Improving Scientific and Technical Advice for fishery management (EC 2003b)[10] is mostly concerned with the advice the EC receives for the management of its Atlantic fisheries through the Advisory Committee on Fishery Management (ACFM) of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The Communication provide strong indications that the ICES scientific advisory system for the North East Atlantic is not functioning at the satisfaction of the EC. It would therefore be inappropriate to try to implement the ICES model, which does not meet the needs of the EC in Atlantic, with considerably less resources and completely different fishery management and scientific traditions in the Mediterranean. The press release accompanying the EC Communication states (EC 2003a, p. 2): “These problems are compounded by the dearth of scientists able to provide the advice needed by fisheries managers in the EU.” If the highly evolved fishery management and fishery science systems of northern Europe do not have sufficient fishery scientists to operate the advisory machinery, it would seem hopeless to try to implement a similar model in the Mediterranean.

The Communication (EC 2003b, p. 5) explicitly states that “...the demand for fisheries advice is now exceeding ICES’ capacity to supply it”. Among the main problems identified are: “a proliferation of meetings and committees, a lack of sufficient scientists from the Community to attend and to contribute effectively, a dependence on the goodwill of Member States to provide scientific expertise, and in some cases, an inability of other countries to contribute to some regional fisheries organizations”. Here again, those problems have been identified mostly for the Atlantic area of the EC. There is no doubt that they would exist, and probably be considerably more acute, in the Mediterranean should similar approaches to fishery management and to fishery science be implemented there.

The Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) has probably also been a model for the design of SAC, given the institutionalized interactions between GFCM and ICCAT. The SCRS has twelve specialized species groups, some of them broken up in sub-groups (such as bluefin tuna for the western and the eastern Atlantic), ad hoc working groups, and also three subcommittees (on the Environment, on By-catch, and on Statistics). The SCRS also co-ordinates several special research programs. This results in a heavy meeting schedule, which requires substantial support from the ICCAT Secretariat and unfaltering commitments by national laboratories to do preparatory work and send scientists to meeting. It is doubtful that GFCM member countries have the human and financial resources to support such an elaborate operation.

The EC Communication (EC 2003b, p1) also states that “The Community must base the common fisheries policy on improved and timely scientific advice, thereby affording a firmer grounding in science than has been the case in the past. This will place more demands on the scientists and the existing scientific institutions than they can meet now and urgent improvements to the science base and its organization are needed.” This statement recognize that simply doing more of the same considerable work that is done now will not be sufficient: things have to be done differently, and the SAC could be one of the first scientific organizations to do it.

Context of future improvements

Early discussions in GFCM about the creation of a scientific advisory committee and in the first meeting of the SAC itself, clearly identified the importance of having a scientific committee that would solve problems and be task-oriented. During the course of its evolution, partly because of its structure and partly because of the way specific work programme have been designed an approved, the SAC, its Subcommittees and their Working Groups have tended to drift away from that ideal, a normal evolution in such a context.

Sustainable fishery management implies more than protecting the resources. The modern concept of sustainability also include socio-economic, institutional and community sustainability (Charles 2001, FAO 1999c). The importance of considering more than biology was mentioned[11].

GFCM and SAC are not the only ones nor the first to attempt to design an efficient an effective advisory process. In the late 1990s, the International Council of the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) whose Advisory Committee on Fisheries Management (ACFM) served as one of the models for SAC, did review its advisory function. As indicated in the section above, the resulting process does not appear to have been satisfactory to the EC, one of the main client of ICES advice. Nevertheless, some of the principles pursued by the ICES review can be useful here. ICES was pursuing four objectives in restructuring its advisory process which for the purpose of GFCM and SAC could be re-stated as:

1. handle request for advice in an effective and timely way, and ensure that they are dealt with by the appropriate expect group;

2. provide integrated advice in a broader ecological, economic, and social context;

3. plan and manage the advisory work in order to match workloads to resources, taking account of emerging issues;

4. maintain effective communications with current and potential users of the advice.

In the process, ICES also established basic principles, some of which could be useful to GFCM and SAC:

1. Scientific advice on management should be formulated by the most appropriate expert group;

2. Fisheries, ecological, environmental, social, and economic perspectives need to be integrated at all stages of the production of the advice. Integrated advice cannot be produced through separate, parallel independent advisory processes;

3. advice should be scientifically agreed by all Member Countries as part of the advisory process.

The importance of having the “most appropriate expert group” do the analyses and formulate the advice cannot be overstated. Several fishery management advisory process have elaborate peer review systems that are highly time consuming. In most instances it could be argued that these peer review systems would not be necessary if the scientific analyses and the scientific advice were provided by the “most appropriate expert group”. SAC has already innovated in this respect by commissioning specific analyses funded by the Copemed and Adriamed regional projects. Commissioning specific analyses that the SAC could use to formulate its advice could be an efficient way of doing business.

The recent Communication from the Commission. Improving scientific and technical advice for Community fisheries management (EC 2003b) provides further direction on desirable properties of a scientific advisory process. The basic principles are (EC 2003b, p.2): “Conservation and management measures should be based on scientific advice of high quality.

The scientific advice should cover all relevant factors, and notably the interaction between fisheries, the resources and the ecosystem and should include biological, technical, environmental, economical and social factors. It should also respect the precision of the available analyses (i.e., be robust to and take account of uncertainty)”.

It is also stated (EC 2003b,p. 2)that “The common fisheries policy should move towards the adoption of an ecosystem-based approach to management. This will require advice on the long-term effects of fishing on the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems”. Should GFCM and its SAC decide to do so, they could be in a unique position to make innovative contributions to the implementation of a truly multidisciplinary process without which the precautionary and ecosystem approaches are likely to remain unattainable. In order to do so, the SAC must avoid giving too much importance to stock assessment in order to focus instead on fishery assessments. The shortcomings of a “stock assessment”-based process are described in Berkes et. al. (2001). An alternative process is compared to the traditional stock assessment-based process in the following figure:

The “Management Objective Driven” process illustrated in figure 1 corresponds to the problem-solving, task-oriented advisory system GFCM and SAC were striving for. It is probably impossible to implement such a “Management Objective Driven” process through a rigid structure of subcommittees and working groups. Rather, it would be preferable to keep a minimalist structure consisting only of the SAC itself and create specific multidisciplinary task groups as needed, bearing in mind that advice should be formulated by the most appropriate expert group. The main requirement are that advice be formulated by experts who are well-informed, of good standing, and visibly free of political influence (EC 2003b, p. 10). It should be noted that this alternate view would make it possible to accommodate the oft expressed desire of the GFCM to have the industry involved in the process. Actually, it would make it essential.

Alternative views of the fishery management cycle

Figure 1: Alternative views of the fishery management cycle with steps where input from various interested parties take places.

From Berkes et al. Managing small scale fisheries.

The impressive amount of work accomplished by the SAC during its short existence despite the absence of an autonomous budget, is due to individual Member Countries and Regional Projects supporting specific events, but particularly to the unfaltering dedication of the SAC chair and its subcommittee co-ordinators. However, the pace reached during the first years cannot be expected to be maintained. The autonomous budget is unlikely to be open-ended in terms of SAC activities. In addition, once an autonomous budget has been adopted, Member Countries and Regional Projects may find it more difficult to allocate extrabudgetary funds to SAC activities and “unfaltering dedication” is notoriously difficult to maintain in any organization. Most institutes in the GFCM area do not have the human nor the financial resources to support a large number of working groups with several meetings every year and this may in fact be an asset in implementing a multidisciplinary approach to achieve ecosystem based fishery management. As indicated earlier, SAC could find it more efficient to pay a specific group of experts or an institute to prepare analyses for its consideration in the development of fishery management advice.

Moving to multidisciplinary and ecosystem approaches will not be easy. People are accustomed to work under disciplinary lines and it will be difficult to implement change. There is no choice, however, if GFCM wants to implement ecosystem-based fishery management.

The proposal sketched above has a high probability of meeting the demands of GFCM in terms of fishery management advice, taking into account bio-ecological as well as socio-economic factors. The development of multidisciplinary advice, possibly involving the industry itself, would also increase the probability of acceptance of the advice and its subsequent implementation. In this context, all SAC and SAC related activities could be open to the public, if that is allowed by the GFCM rules of procedures.

The proposal, however, would not provide a forum for the discussion of issues not directly related to fishery management. If a satisfactory disciplinary forum already exist in the Mediterranean area or can be modified to become satisfactory, then it should be used to provide methodological reviews/advances. If such disciplinary forums do not exist, then GFCM could provide such a forum, but not necessarily through its advisory process. The SAC added-value would be in providing a multidisciplinary forum either for methodological developments (in the context of providing advice for fishery management) or for the formulation of ecosystem-based advice for fishery management.

REFERENCES[12]

Berkes, F., Mahon, R., McConney, P., Pollnac, R. and Pomeroy, R. 2001. Managing small scale fisheries - alternative directions and methods. IDRC, Ottawa, Canada, 309p.

Breuil, C. La pêche en Méditerranée: éléments d’information sur le contexte halieutique et les enjeux économiques de leur aménagement. FAO Circulaire sur les pêches. No. 927. Rome, FAO. 1997. 36p.

Caddy, J.F. 1998. Issues in Mediterranean fisheries management: geographical units and effort control. Studies and Reviews. General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean. No. 70. Rome, FAO. 1998. 56p.

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Féral, F. 2001. Sociétés maritimes, droits et institutions des pêches en Méditerranée occidentale. Revue synthétique des droits collectifs et des systèmes décentralisés de discipline professionnelle. FAO Document technique sur les pêches. No. 420, FAO. 2001. 62p. http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/Y2788F/Y2788F00.HTM

Fiorentini, L., Caddy, J.F. and de Leiva, J.I. Long and short-term trends of Mediterranean fishery resources. Studies and Reviews. General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean. No. 69. Rome, FAO. 1997. 72p.

GFCM. 1997. Report of the twenty-second session of the general fisheries council for the Mediterranean, Rome, 13-16 October 1997.
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GFCM 1998a. Report of the twenty-third session. Rome, Italy, 7-10 July 1998. GFCM Report. No. 23. Rome, FAO. 1998. 25p. http://www.fao.org/fi/meetings/gfcm/gfcm98/gfcm23.asp

GFCM. 1998b. Twenty-third Session, Rome, Italy, 7-10 July 1998, Options for the Structure and Functions of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of GFCM and Preparations for its First Session. http://www.fao.org/fi/meetings/gfcm/gfcm98/98-3E.asp

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GFCM. 1999b. Report of the twenty-fourth session. Alicante, Spain, 12-15 July 1999. GFCM Report. No. 24. Rome, FAO. 1999. 27p.
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GFCM. 2000. Report of the twenty-fifth session. Sliema, Malta, 12-15 September 2000.

GFCM Report. No. 25. Rome, FAO. 2000. 27 p.
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BACK COVER

The Ad Hoc Meeting of Experts on the Independent Appraisal of the Achievements of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) was held in Rome, Italy, from 27 to 28 August 2003. The meeting was attended by five experts from SAC in their personal capacity and by a specialized consultant. The appraisal stemmed from an initial suggestion from COPEMED that it would be opportune, in the context of the forthcoming entry into force of the GFCM autonomous budget, to appraise the work of SAC since its inception. This was supported by the Second Coordinating Meeting of the SAC Sub-Committees. At its sixth session in 2003, SAC further welcomed the offer made by the Secretariat to undertake an external evaluation of its achievements (1999-2003). On the basis of the report of the consultant, the Meeting of Experts reviewed and summarized major achievements of SAC and identified strengths and weaknesses of its process. The meeting also suggested considering a number of preliminary options for improving the efficiency of the Committee, placing emphasis on a task-oriented advisory process driven by GFCM management objectives and an enhanced capacity to formulate management advice, based on multispecies assessments and using multidisciplinary reference points, compliant with an ecosystem approach to fisheries.


[1] Nicosia, Cyprus, 5 June 2003.
[2] Paragraph 13 of the Report of the Sixth Session of SAC.
[3] The Group did not attempt nor intend any ranking.
[4] Endorsed by GFCM at its Twenty-seventh Session (2002).
[5] Principle referred to in 5.1 above.
[6] Slovenia joined GFCM late May 2000.
[7] Serbia and Montenegro joined GFCM in 2003.
[8] http://www.fao.org/legal/treaties/003t2-e.htm
[9] The author has been a member of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries Management from 1989 to 1999, chaired ACFM during 1996-1999, remains active in the ICES North Western Working Group and maintains a sustained interest in the operations of ACFM.
[10] Documents produced by the European Commission are used as an illustration of current thinking amongst one of the major player in the GFCM arena.
[11] Serge Garcia, Director of the FAO Fishery Resources Division, at the very first meeting of the SAC mentioned “that for any fisheries management to be sustainable it should take into consideration the social dimension of the fishing community. A purely scientific approach to fisheries management did not have any chance of success unless it was accepted by all stakeholders. A balance between the scientific requirements for the conservation of the stocks and the socio-economic conditions prevailing in the areas concerned was the best guarantee for sustainable management of the fishery sector.” (FAO 1999a, parag. 5).
[12] Including GFCM and SAC documents consulted but not necessarily mentioned in the text.

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