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Commission to increase transparency of scientific advice for fisheries

The Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), the fisheries advisory board of the European Commission, is to open its meetings to the public, it was announced on 19 May. As a pilot exercise, the forthcoming STECF meeting, entitled 'Mixed fisheries an...

The Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), the fisheries advisory board of the European Commission, is to open its meetings to the public, it was announced on 19 May. As a pilot exercise, the forthcoming STECF meeting, entitled 'Mixed fisheries and fishing effort regime in recovery and management plans', taking place from 5 to 9 June 2006, will open its doors to members of the public with observer status. Observers will have an opportunity to listen to the discussions, and may be invited to contribute. The meeting will address the effectiveness of fish stock recovery schemes, including the results of fishing effort management, landings, by-catches and discards in fisheries covered by recovery plans. Commenting on this news, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Joe Borg, said: 'I am pleased that the STECF has taken this decision which will help strengthen cooperation and trust between scientists and other stakeholders. This is key to the development and application of more effective management measures to help depleted stocks to recover.' The exercise is established on a trial basis. After evaluating the results, the STECF will consider the possibility of admitting observers to other meetings on a case-by-case basis. STECF, which was established in 2002 by an EU Regulation, is consulted at regular intervals on matters pertaining to the conservation and management of living aquatic resources, including biological, economic, environmental, social and technical considerations. The Commission takes into account the advice from the STECF when presenting proposals on fisheries management.