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General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)

Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) - 14th session

20 February 2012 - 24 February 2012

The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) held its fourteenth session in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 20 to 24 February 2012. The session was attended by delegates from 19 Members of the Commission as well as observers from intergovernmental organizations together with Georgia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The Committee reviewed the topics addressed by the 11 technical meetings and the 4 Sub-Committees sessions held in the 2011–2012 intersessional period. These included proposals for fishery management measures, research programmes, data collection schemes, development of Management Plans for Red Coral and for Fishing Capacity as well as technical issues, in connection with the use of spatial based measures, Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) data and the management related to by-catch of species of conservation concern as well as of discards of commercial and non-commercial species. The agreed priority actions to be undertaken in the Black Sea area were also appraised. Remarkable progress was noted on the definition of a new Task 2 for gathering biological information of catches and on the proposal to revisit the frame and scope of whole Task 1 given the problems of compliance detected. The Committee acknowledged also the progress made in undertaking joint stock assessments of selected demersal, small pelagic and elasmobranchs species and on the modification of the Stock Assessment Forms. The Committee was informed about the progress achieved on the process of modernizing GFCM legal and institutional framework through the creation of the ad hoc Task Force, including on its activities and work plan. The first Framework Program in support to this process was also introduced. With regard to the GFCM decision-making process the SAC agreed that a mechanism should be defined, to facilitate the adoption of recommendations. In this respect, an ad hoc meeting was convened to be held before the 36th Session (May 2012) to address this issue. The Committee decided to postpone the election of its Bureau until next session and agreed upon its workplan for 2012–2013.