STECF stands for: Scientific, Technical and ECONOMIC Committee for Fisheries.
We find it both inexplicable, yet so predictable, that the Terms of Reference for the Plenary, avoids looking at the economics of the various sea bass fisheries.
One can’t help but ponder whether the apparent exclusion of ECONOMICS, is quite simply, a fear that their findings (if Economics was included) would rock the entire EU CFP assumption that commercial exploitation is the only valid and valuable use of a fishery resource.
So whilst the STECF will hear how much fishing mortality is attributable to Recreational Sea Angling, no cognisance will be taken of the VALUE from that part of mortality.
Does this indicate EU restrictions upon RSA whilst commercials who take the lion’s share, can catch all they can?
From 7th July to 11th July the EU’s Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries meets for their Summer Plenary Session
The Terms of Reference for the plenary have just been published: STECF Plenary Meeting
Amongst the items being considered are the management of Sea Bass:
Sea bass fisheries and their management
ICES have provided assessments of the stock of seabass for 2013 identifying 4 potential stock areas.
The stock distribution has increased;
ICES identifies that there is evidence of local depopulation despite increas ing incidence of the species.
Considering the life cycle of this species there is a need to ensure that management measures are appropriate to the stock and can provide the necessary protection to limit mortality to prevent a decline in regional and local populations.
In 2012 and 2013 through expert meetings the Commission and Member States have been considering the introduction of a TAC for seabass.
ICES have previously identified that a TAC may not be the most suitable means to effectively control mortality for this stock.
Some Member States have also mentioned the CFP reform (landing obligation) as an argument against the introduction of a new TAC.
In addition recreational fisheries play a significant part in the total outtake.
Member States have identified the existing various direct and indirect fishery national management measures that impact on both recreational and commercial activity.
Member States have been asked to consider their national controls on this species and identify possible management measures they could adopt.
However there remains a need to evaluate the combined impact of these various management measures on the stock and to explore how these measures can be co-ordinated to effectively conserve the stock; the setting of particular catch limits for various fisheries should be considered.
Request to the STECF
STECF is requested to assess and comment on the national management measures of the Member States to determine their impact on the current stock distribution of Seabass.
In particular STECF are asked to:
• Identify the contribution to mortality from the direct and indirect fisheries on a Member State basis;
• Identify for directed fisheries potential limits, and management indicators and possible avoidance/ technical measures for indirect fisheries.
• STECF are asked to identify management measures that can be considered precautionary or would allow for the management of the stock at MSY.
In addition STECF are asked, considering the latest advice for these stocks to comment on:
• the effectiveness of the current national measures in controlling catches and in preventing an increase in fishing mortality and/or a decline in biomass for each stock;
• the likely effectiveness of existing national measures, under the current stock situation, in maintaining the stock at MSY levels if
o existing commerical effort levels remain constant;
o or if existing catches are maintained
o If possible comment on the potential impact on the stock if this situation is maintained over a 3-5yr timescale;
• Lastly STECF are asked to recommend measures that could be applied now to ensure that the stock is maintained within MSY levels.