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Oceans and fisheries

Scientific advice and data collection

Scientific advice, based on reliable data, is key for policy development and decision making, for instance in the process of setting fishing opportunities and the adoption of conservation and management measures.

Scientific advice for EU fisheries management

When proposing new fisheries rules and regulations or reviewing the existing ones, the European Commission seeks the best available scientific advice from several scientific bodies. Data collected by EU countries under the data collection framework (DCF) form the basis for the work of these bodies.

Short-term needs for additional knowledge can be addressed through the Commission-funded scientific advice studies (through calls for tenders and calls for proposals).

Long-term research projects relevant to fisheries management receive support under EU research framework programmes.

Scientific advisory bodies

Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF)

A group of experts, appointed by the Commission for three years, who provide scientific advice on fisheries management. The Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) supports the STEFC’s scientific work and the implementation of the data collection framework.

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)

It is an intergovernmental body that provides scientific advice for sustainable management of the fisheries and marine resources, mainly in the North Atlantic. ICES publications include advice on fishing opportunities, fisheries and ecosystem overviews.

Regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) and regional fisheries bodies (RFBs)

EU participates and provide scientific advice and management recommendations through their scientific bodies. The scientific advice concerns the conservation of the stocks under their purview and their ecosystem and it is the basis for the EU proposals submitted in those organisations. Some examples are

Data collection

The EU’s data collection framework (DCF) outlines the EU countries’ obligations to collect, manage and make available a wide range of fisheries and aquaculture data needed for scientific advice.

This includes biological, environmental, economic, and social data. Member States’ data collection activities are financially supported by the EU. Data collection needs to ensure accuracy, reliability and timeliness, safe storage and improved availability of data.