PelAC has issued a call for urgent planning of an inter-benchmark meeting dedicated to the three horse mackerel stocks in the Q1 of 2024
The Pelagic Advisory Council (PelAC) has issued a call for urgent planning of an inter-benchmark meeting dedicated to the three horse mackerel stocks – Western, Southern, and North Sea – in the first quarter of 2024.
The call, addressed to the Director-General of DG MARE, Charlina Vitcheva, serves to expedite the process and ensure timely decision-making.
The Pelagic Advisory Council has been actively engaged in providing recommendations throughout 2022-2023, as evident from references 2223PAC14 and 2223PAC65. These recommendations have consistently highlighted the need for an ICES inter-benchmark meeting dedicated to the three horse mackerel stocks mentioned earlier.
Originally, the PelAC hoped for the inter-benchmark to occur in 2023. However, reassurances were received that the benchmark would be finalised in time for the 2024 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) setting exercise with the United Kingdom (UK).
PelAC reiterated its call for the ICES inter-benchmark meeting to be expedited and held in the first quarter of 2024. It is especially concerned about the delay in issuing the data call for the data compilation meeting originally scheduled for January 9-12, 2024. This delay jeopardises the entire benchmark planning process, putting the finalisation in the first quarter of 2024 at risk.
The PelAC urgently requests the European Commission to discuss this matter with ICES and ensure the data compilation workshop proceeds as planned in January 2024. The timely completion of this step is crucial for the effective management of horse mackerel stocks and the subsequent TAC setting for 2024.
The Pelagic Advisory Council stresses the importance of addressing this issue promptly to avoid potential setbacks in the management and sustainability of horse mackerel stocks. The call for an inter-benchmark meeting reflects the commitment to responsible fisheries management and collaboration between relevant authorities.
The PelAC says it anticipates a timely response from Ms Vitcheva and appreciates her support in expediting the essential inter-benchmark meeting.