JRC scientists comment on study published in Science magazine
The consultation period on last year's Maritime Policy Green Paper comes to an end on 30th June. Marine and maritime science is contributing in many ways to maritime policy. The JRC's activities in this field include the development of systems for tracking vessels and monitoring fishing, including the use of space technology, and research on the quality of coastal and sea waters as well as the effects of climate change on marine habitats.
The European Commission has welcomed the adoption by Council of its proposal for a regulation establishing an EU framework for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector and support for scientific advice regarding the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The new framework retains and builds on the proven features of the existing data collection system. It also introduces provisions to meet the new developments following the 2002 Reform of the CFP, in particular the move towards fisheries- or fleet-based management as opposed to managing individual stocks, the integration of environmental data, and the shift towards an ecosystem-based approach. The Commission will shortly introduce a proposal for detailed implementing rules.
In May 2010, Member States' data on commercial fish stocks in the Mediterranean, together with data on effort trends and landings at fleet level were assembled by the JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) through its dedicated fisheries data collection web site. Thanks to the JRC's persistent efforts and quality checks, more complete and reliable data is now available to support sound scientific advice in fisheries management. Despite shortcomings in the compliance with data call rules, the JRC's scientists were able to provide the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) working group for the Mediterranean with an increased amount of quality data on stocks compared with previous years.
This success builds on the pioneering STECF work carried out in 2008 and 2009 which aimed to establish scientific evidence to support the development of long-term management plans for selected fisheries in the Mediterranean, and to strengthen the Community's scientific input to the work of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). In 2009 this involved data compilations and assessments for 59 combinations of demersal (i.e. the species that live in closer vicinity with the seabed, e.g. hake, red mullet, red shrimps, common sole, etc.) and small pelagic (such as anchovies and sardines) species, and for Geographical Sub-areas (GSAs) which indicated overfishing for most stocks and recommended reductions in catches and fishing mortality in the short term.
Over 54% of the Mediterranean fish stocks analysed by scientists are found to be fished to well above sustainable harvest levels. The EU 'Mediterranean Regulation', in force since 1 June 2010 for Member States bordering the Mediterranean basin, aims to improve the management of fisheries to help them become more sustainable, protect the fragile marine environment and restore fish stocks to healthy levels.
A study published by a team of European scientists shows how the cessation of commercial fishing in the North Sea caused by World War II led to a profound change in the age structure or ‘complete demographic transition’ in the populations of resident fish.
Making access to marine data easier and more economic is one of the three objectives of the Marine Knowledge 2020 initiative, proposed by the Commission on 13 September. The initiative acknowledges the role of the JRC as a thematic assembly centre for fisheries data. Scientists at the JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) collect and maintain fisheries management data transmitted by EU Member States. These data sets are then used by experts of the Scientific and Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) to provide scientific advice to EU policy makers, for example to decide on fishing effort reductions or management measures.
The FishPopTrace European research project, of which the JRC is a member, is exploring a range of techniques to develop reliable tests to understand where local population marine fish come from. In today’s issue of Science (10 December 2010; Vol. 330) the latest results are discussed.
A new JRC report shows how molecular technologies can help in the fight against illegal practices and support traceability- including of processed products such as canned fish – 'from ocean to fork'.
Two new reports by the European Commission show that the EU fishing sector's economic performance has been declining steadily in recent years. The 2010 Annual Economic Report - prepared with the contribution of the JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) - shows that overall, fleet profits declined each year between 2006 and 2008.
In its proposals for a major reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the European Commission on Wednesday 13 July set out a radical approach to fisheries management in Europe, based on scientific advice. The JRC will further strengthen its role as science provider and continue to assist the Commission on fisheries science and economics, as well as manage an electronic platform sharing Member States fisheries data.