NWWAC looks back on productive year, and ahead to a work plan reflecting the biggest North Western Waters fisheries issues in years

By vallerani, Tuesday, 26th April 2022 | 0 comments

In 2021, the North Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) experienced its most productive year since its existence, tallying a landmark number of contributions to fisheries policy. The Advisory Council hosted 75 meetings, which led to 30 submissions in the form of letters, opinions, or formal advice to EU legislators. Between October 2020 and September 2021, advice ranged from species-specific issues, such as sea bass and whelk management, to cross-cutting topics, including deep sea mining, Marine Protected Areas, and stakeholder participation in fisheries management. 2022 is set to be no different, with large-scale environmental policies taking centre stage.

One of 11 fisheries Advisory Councils covering sea basins and specific fisheries across Europe, the NWWAC brings together fishing industry and NGO representatives to produce advice on how to manage the EU’s North Western Waters. This advice is then fed directly to EU decision-makers.

Emiel Brouckaert, Chair of the NWWAC, commented:

We are delighted with the NWWAC’s success and influence over the past year. Despite the difficulties of Brexit and universally challenging circumstances of the pandemic, 2020-2021 was the most active year in the NWWAC’s history. We now intend to build on this momentum. We’ve set out clear, relevant priorities within our work plan that focus on arguably the most pressing problems we face – the impact of climate change and the Green Deal objectives with Biodiversity and Farm-to-Fork Strategies, on a changed fisheries management environment.

The NWWAC’s work plan reflects recent shifts towards ecosystem-based fisheries management, a holistic approach that considers the entire ecosystem.

In balancing a large breadth of fisheries-related policies and issues, our inclusive work plan caters to the diversity of our members – commercial vessel owners, producer organisations, processors, traders, environmental NGOs, and recreational fishermen. It reflects the urgent need to move towards ecosystem-based fisheries management and the best approaches to minimise the impact on the environment, while balancing the interests of the industry, coastal communities and other marine users.” - Mo Mathies, NWWAC Executive Secretary

The NWWAC is seeking well-informed and sustainability-minded organisations to join its membership. This presents prospective members with an opportunity to sharpen the impact of policy advice, connect with NGOs and fishing sector organisations, and engage in internationally important scientific projects with access to exclusive resources.

In an unpredictable political landscape and with the effects of climate change underway, the range and complexity of marine and fisheries management issues are only set to intensify. To address these issues, the NWWAC is intensifying its contribution to reach the objectives of the EU Common Fisheries Policy by facilitating a forum for fishing sector stakeholders and other interest stakeholders to achieve unanimous advice for policy-makers and managers.

Despite the currently heightened challenges of collaborative working, encouraging stakeholder groups to come together and find common ground on key marine issues will be critical for developing fair, effective, and environmentally sensitive advisory contributions to NWW fisheries policy and management. The NWWAC has a unique opportunity to sharpen the impact of such advice, and this is precisely why we intend to build on our current momentum into 2022 and beyond.” - Emiel Brouckaert, Chair of the NWWAC.

** ENDS **

Notes to editors

The North Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) is one of 11 fisheries Advisory Councils across Europe, generating multi-stakeholder advice to feed into the European Commission and Member States on key fisheries policy developments affecting their area of competence. NWWAC advice focuses on matters related to EU fisheries management and ecosystem considerations in the Irish Sea, the Celtic Seas and the Channel.

NWWAC website: https://www.nwwac.org/english

NWWAC Secretariat contact: Mo Mathies | mo.mathies@nwwac.ie | T: +353 1 2144 143 |

M: +353 87 238 2136