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Responsive Results-Based Management and capacity building for EU Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement- and international waters

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FarFish (Responsive Results-Based Management and capacity building for EU Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement- and international waters)

Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2018-11-30

Total annual catches of the EU fishing fleet have been around five million tonnes in recent years, of which roughly 21% come from non-EU waters. Approximately 13% are taken from international waters and 8% from within waters of countries that have signed bilateral agreements with the EU, granting EU vessels access and restricted fishing rights. These agreements are of two types, i.e. northern agreements and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPAs). The northern agreements are with countries in the Northern Atlantic that have shared stocks with the EU, but the SFPAs are with non-EU countries that are not fully utilising their fisheries resources and have consequently agreed to allow EU vessels to fish surplus of the total allowable catch (TAC). The SFPAs are intended to enhance fisheries governance for sustainable exploitation within the relevant waters and contribute to stable fish supply and development in the fisheries sector. The agreements include financial support which aims to promote sustainable fisheries development in the partner countries by strengthening their administrative and scientific capacity.
Many of the countries that have signed SFPAs with the EU lack the infrastructure and know-how to sufficiently manage and utilise their marine resources. Biological knowledge, control and monitoring of the fisheries are weak, which is also often an issue in international waters. The management measures in these fisheries are often based on limited science, and management decisions are made in the context of limited enforcement capabilities. Understanding of the biology and ecology of target and by-catch species in these areas are incomplete, and appropriate stock assessment and management tools need to be further developed and implemented to provide a more solid knowledge base and advice on fisheries management. Increased accountability and transparency are needed to improved compliance.
The role and responsibilities of the EU fleet are significant in ensuring sustainable utilisation of the resources to which they have access, whether that is under SFPAs or in international waters. The overall goal of FarFish is to provide knowledge, tools and methods to support responsible, sustainable and profitable EU fisheries outside European waters. To achieve this, FarFish will develop practical, achievable and cost-effective fisheries management tools and advice which can be applied immediately. The work will be done in collaboration of scientists, policy makers, resource users and other stakeholders aimed to improve fisheries management competences. FarFish will provide a better knowledge base of these fisheries and encourage resource users to actively take part in the management.

Six case studies (CSs) have been selected for FarFish to represent EU fisheries within the high seas and SFPAs. These six FarFish CSs a good cross-section of EU fisheries in these waters. These are the high seas fisheries in the SW-Atlantic (FAO major fishing area 41) and SE-Atlantic (FAO major fishing area 47); and the SFPA fisheries in Cape Verde, Senegal, Mauritania and Seychelles.
During the 1st project period, the FarFish consortium began work on a total of 33 tasks, and has completed 21 deliverables and 5 milestones.

The main focus of WP1 “Stakeholder interaction” is on involving stakeholders in creating solutions for the policy context in the six FarFish CSs. Examples of such stakeholders are EU and non-EU fishing fleet and fisheries authority representatives, RFMOs, international organisations, NGOs etc. The WP is instrumental for achieving specific objectives of the project e.g. for development of Management Recommendations (MRs) and Decision Support Tools (DSTs).
The overall objectives of WP2 are to advance knowledge and collate data related to biological characteristics of the main fish stocks in the selected fisheries, and to evaluate the appropriateness, relevance and applicability of stock assessment models currently in use for these fisheries. Main results achieved so far is production of the “Case study characterization” which is an initial description of the FarFish CSs. Considerable amount of data has been collected and analysed within the WP and current stock assessment models and procedures within the CSs have been assessed on the basis of their appropriateness; which was followed by suggesting alternative approaches. Opportunities for applying “self-sampling” by the EU fishing fleet in the respective CSs have also been explored.
The overall objectives of WP3 are to map and analyse the six FarFish value chains, and the current legal and contractual practices and constraints in these fisheries, and to produce policy recommendations. WP3 does as well represent the Authority within the Results-Based Management (RBM) framework in FarFish. In this context the Authority is an organizational entity entrusted for overall management of a fishery e.g. ministry of fisheries in coastal states, EU commission, DG Mare etc. Results achieved so far include a value chain analysis, evaluation of governance structures, provision of general guidelines for making MRs and MR invitations to each CS.
The overall objective of WP4 is to develop flexible, dynamic and ready-to-use MRs in close collaboration with stakeholders based on RBM principles for the selected fisheries. This is to be achieved by developing MRs for each of the selected CS following the general guidelines provided by WP3. This work is ongoing, but main results achieved so far include publication of detailed CS overview report, report on identified alternative management scenarios and report on the MR kick-off meeting where key stakeholders from the FarFish CSs came together to agree on prioritisation in each CS.
The objectives of WP5 are to evaluate the relevance, applicability, sustainability, costs, benefits and compliance with overall goals for the MRs developed by WP4, and to provide feedback on feasibility and a roadmap for potential implementation. Little progress has been made in this WP, as it is to evaluate MRs developed in WP4 that are not expected to be available until February 2019.
The objective of WP6 is to develop general fisheries management- and other decision support tools to support the FarFish CSs in developing MRs. Main results so far include development of prototype FarFish DataBase (FFDB), and production of visualisation materials and DSTs to support development of MRs in the CSs. For the duration of the project the FFDB is primarily intended for internal use, but alternatives for ensuring that it lives on beyond the project will be explored within FarFish.
The focus of the WP7 is on building capacities, professional skills and competences of stakeholders within the CSs and beyond within the field of fisheries management, as well as disseminating the project itself. Main results so far include broad scope dissemination of the project which has resulted in high interests all around the world; development of a special university-level certificate program being set-up that will be launched in mid-2019, a six-mo
FarFish will improve knowledge on and management of EU fisheries outside Europe, while contributing to sustainability and long-term profitability.
Map showing the geographical distribution of the FarFish consortium and the Reference Group
Map showing results from one of the FarFish tools, AIS signals vs satellite detection
Map showing the geographical location of the FarFish case studies