MIRIA participants include regional fisheries and environmental commissions and competent authorities of ICES member countries, whereas MIACO participants are organizations and individuals which hold observer status at ICES, including representatives from EU Advisory Councils, fishing organizations, and environmental NGOs.
Among a long series of issues, two important pieces of work carried out in 2016 were on the agenda at both meetings: ecosystem overviews and the development of the MSY approach for category 3 and 4 stocks, which are stocks graded as having insufficient knowledge available to conduct traditional assessments.
Ecosystem overviews were issued for the Barents Sea, Bay of Biscay, Celtic Sea, and the North Sea ecoregions, with versions for the Icelandic and Baltic Sea to follow in 2017. The overviews provide a description of the ecosystems, identify the main human imposed pressures, and explain how these impact on key ecosystem components. This week's meetings provided ICES the opportunity to present the plans and invite discussion and comments on the products.
Participants were also informed about the recent development of the MSY approach. Methods have been developed for estimating FMSY and MSY Btrigger for category 3 and 4 stocks. The methods have been applied for western waters stocks in response to a request from the EU. This year, this approach will be extended to such stocks in other ecoregions.
Currently the reference points are used to assess the state of stocks and their exploitation against MSY objectives, with advice for these stocks still based on ICES precautionary approach. However, an MSY based advice rule for the stocks is under development.
More generally, participants were given an overview of the ICES advisory process in 2016, including being informed of any advice changes, as well as an explanation of the involvement of stakeholders at the various stages of the process.
Currently, over 40 organizations hold observer status to ICES activities. Read more about ICES work with stakeholders and how to apply for observer status.