These meetings are organised twice a year and serve as a forum to discuss policy and administrative issues. In addition to the main stakeholders, officials from Member States, and representatives of the European Parliament were also present.
Planning the upcoming conservation measures was one of the key items discussed with the stakeholders. The Commission presented the plans and priorities for each sea-basin taking into account the changes that will be implemented as part of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. An important part of the discussion was dedicated to the preparation of the discard ban which is expected to start in 2014 for a number of fisheries. The RACs were asked to give immediate priority to preparing their input for the implementation of the discard ban.
Another issue discussed was the future role, composition and functioning of the Advisory Councils. Regional Advisory Councils - which will be renamed Advisory Councils – are expected to play an even more important role once the reform of the CFP kicks in. This will be particularly the case in the context of the regionalisation of the policy where they will provide recommendations to Member States as well as the European Commission. The wealth of experience gained over the years guided the discussion and provided an opportunity to exchange views on issues such as the composition of the ACs, cooperation with scientists, funding, and the organisational setup.