The Minister met with Poul Degnbol and Henrik Sparholt, the Head and Deputy Head of Advisory Programme, who gave presentations on ICES scientific and advisory work.
Minister O'Dowd was particularly interested in the science behind inland fisheries management and wanted to learn more about ICES advice on European eel and Atlantic salmon. Both fish stocks are in a depleted state, and governments have been facing challenging management decisions. The Minister was pleased to hear about the rigorous scientific process behind ICES advice regarding the two fish stocks. He noted that when discussing with fishermen, it is important that he can be confident of a sound scientific basis behind policy decisions. The discussions at the meeting in ICES confirmed this.
"We have to understand the science and appreciate it," said Minister O'Dowd, adding that educating the public about the status of fish stocks should begin at elementary school level.
Minister O'Dowd was accompanied by his personal secretary, Niamh Redmond, and David Keating, Deputy Head of Mission from the Embassy of Ireland in Copenhagen.
ICES advice on North Atlantic Salmon will be published in May, and technical evaluation of the eel management plan progress reports will be released in June this year.
Minister Fergus O'Dowd in discussion with Poul Degnbol, Head of ICES Advisory Programme.