The North Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) holds a series of regular meetings 10-15 times a year to discuss, exchange views and formulate proposals with EU policy makers, national administrations, scientists, and academics a variety of local, regional and horizontal cross cutting issues related to fisheries management within its scope of action. The NWWAC then elaborates and produce evidence based advice generally agreed by consensus which is subsequently submitted to the European Commission and the Member States.

The NWWAC membership consists of a number of tiers. This allows access to the process by as many stakeholders as possible in an endeavour to balance efficiency and inclusiveness. 

In the General Assembly and Executive Committee, 60% of the seats are allotted to representatives of the fisheries sector and 40% to representatives of the other interest groups, as defined in Annex III of Regulation of the Council and the European Parliament (EU) No 1380/2013., on the Common Fisheries Policy. 

Rules for Membership of the Advisory Councils are set out in Council Decision 2004/585/EC. 

General Assembly   

All members of the NWWAC are members of the General Assembly. Those considered to be of the Fishing Sector or Other Interest Groups have voting rights. The General Assembly meets annually at a minimum. 

The General Assembly appoints an Executive Committee to act as a focus for the activities of the NWWAC. 

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee manages the work of the AC and adopt its recommendations and suggestions. It is restricted in size to 24-30 members the Executive Committee and it has a balanced representation of all parties affected by the Common Fisheries Policy.

The Executive Committee coordinates the day-to-day activities of the NWWAC and its Working Groups are the final arbitrator of all advice and opinion issued by the NWWAC. 

The Executive Committee meets at least three times annually. 

Working Groups

Due to the vast area covered by the NWWAC it was decided, at an early stage, that the work of the AC be undertaken by Sub Area Working Groups. 

These Working Groups are as follows:

  1. West of Scotland - ICES areas Vb (EC) VIa, VIb - Western Approaches  [WG 1] 
  2. West of Ireland and Celtic Sea - ICES areas VII (except d, e & a)    [WG 2] 
  3. English Channel - ICES areas VIId & e    [WG 3] 
  4. Irish Sea - ICES area VIIa    [WG 4]

View a map of the NWWAC area

The Working Groups enable a wide range of technical experts to take part in addition to expanding the scope for stakeholder participation. 

Membership of the Working Groups will vary in accordance with the issues under discussion. They assist the Executive Committee in developing fishing-area-specific proposals and advice within the overall objectives of the NWWAC. 

Working Groups report directly to the Executive Committee, operating within prescribed rules and procedures established by the AC. They may however exercise latitude appropriate to the diversity of characteristics and fisheries that fall within their remit, when undertaking their work programme.

Focus Groups 

The so-called Focus Groups are advisory groups proposed by the Sub Area Working Groups and formally established by the Executive Committee. Focus Groups deal with issues of specific interest whose technical complexity demands a separate in-depth analysis by a limited number of members with wide expertise and knowledge on that subject matter.

Its main aim is to assist the Executive Committee in its task of preparation of advice. Focus Groups are set up on an ad hoc temporary basis and its number and content might vary from one year to other depending on the working programme (priorities, open consultation procedures...) and budget availability.