In its user guide on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) the underlines that fisheries management in the EU relies on scientific advice, and is therefore dependent on accurate, relevant and up-to-date data. Since 2001, the CFP has set aside funding to help national authorities collect both economic and biological data related to fisheries management. Originally Council Regulation (EC) No 1543/2000 established a Community framework for the collection and management of the data needed to conduct the common fisheries policy (“The Data Collection Regulation” - DCR), for which Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1639/2001 determined Community programs for the collection of data in the fisheries sector and laid down detailed rules for the application.Despite examples clearly demonstrating the value of genetics for marine fishery management, routine use of genetic information in this field remains exceptional. A variety of reasons are responsible for the conspicuous absence of genetics. Some are historical, others arise due to a lack of communication between fish geneticists, fisheries managers and regulators. Also, integral to the problem, the current management infrastructure is not conducive to the uptake of genetics: Fish(eries) genetics remain confined largely to the academic realm, and research projects where there is a lack of long-term perspective and funding. As a result there is no central data-hub available for this type of information and it is not routinely collected and updated.
This ICES Working Group Annual Report explores opportunities for the integration of genetic data into fisheries management resulting from the European Union Data Collection Framework Regulation and formulates a number of recommendations adressed at the ICES Scientific Commitee and other stakeholders to reach this goal.