The minutes from the EU-UK Specialised Committee on Fisheries (SCF) meeting from July has been published.
The Meeting was hosted by the EU in Brussels and virtually on Wednesday 20 July 2022 and was the fourth meeting of the SCF.
The EU, as host, welcomed both Delegations to the fourth meeting of the Specialised Committee on Fisheries (SCF). The Parties exchanged opening remarks where they acknowledged the SCF as the forum under which the work of both Parties under the TCA in the area of fisheries takes place. The Parties adopted the provisional agenda with one adjustment, noting that item 7(f) on the provisional agenda incorrectly read as “Celtic Sea Mixed fisheries science” and should read “Mixed fisheries science”.
On the issue of Celtic Sea technical measures, the parties agreed to proceed with the net steps at technical level as set out in the updated data collation exercise paper. The Parties shared the view that the evaluation framework set out in the updated paper is an appropriate basis on which to conduct work at technical level on ex-ante evaluations of technical measures foreseen in paragraph 12(c) of the Written Record of fisheries consultations between the United Kingdom and the European Union for 2021.
On deep sea stocks, both roundnose grenadier and western red sea bream were discussed.
The Parties noted on Protocol for notifications under Article 496(3) of the TCA, the outcomes of discussions on key elements of notifications to date. The EU and UK agreed on the importance of progressing this work and agreed that they should continue discussions towards the SCF meeting in October, including commencing drafting of a joint document.
On fisheries management, the EU provided an update on its draft Delegated Act on North Sea Natura 2000 sites, which will shortly be notified to the UK in accordance with Article 496(3) of the TCA. The UK provided an update of the objectives of its public consultation on designating Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) that runs from 6 July to 28 September 2022. The Parties also noted the recent discussion in the Working Group on Fisheries meeting of 28 and 29 June on the UK’s call for evidence concerning fisheries management measures in 13 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The Parties agreed to continued engagement on MPAs in due course. The Parties noted that these exchanges were without prejudice to Article 496(3) of the TCA.
Item six of the agenda was guidelines for setting TACs for special stocks, here Both Parties reaffirmed the importance of making progress on guidelines for provisional TACs for special stocks, in view of the past deadline in the TCA. The Parties noted the constructive discussions to date on category (a) stocks (zero TAC advice stocks) and committed to continue these discussions with a view to reaching at least partial agreement for this category still this year as a priority if possible. The Parties noted that an exchange of views on special stocks and the application of any guidelines is foreseen as part of the planning meeting between the Parties in September in the schedule for the consultations agreed in January 2022.
On ICES requests, the Parties discussed, discard survivability, the Seaboass allocation tool, Celtic Sea whiting, Celtic Sea Stocks with no advice, skates and rays, and mixed fisheries science.
Other items discussed were, multi-year strategies for shared non-quota stocks, non-quota stocks catch data, and preparation of the 2023 EU-UK annual consultations.