Ernesto attended some of the sessions of the meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC), held in downtown Seattle from January 30 to February 2. “It was a very interesting experience, to compare this Council with Europe’s Advisory Councils established under the Common Fisheries Policy,” noted Ernesto. He was excited to see the ways in which the NPFMC was working toward improving fishing relations while maintaining transparency on reported catches of protected species.
“The openness of the meetings was truly remarkable,” Ernesto recalled, “I could attend the discussions without even having to register!”
The beneficial effects of the Council’s training programs for its members were obvious, and something Ernesto plans on taking back to Europe’s Advisory Council. “The level of discussions was intense and highly complex, demonstrating what good grasp the fishermen have of fisheries science,” he explained. In addition he was very impressed by how closely linked the scientists and the management teams were, having meetings back-to-back and encouraging important industry presence and participation.
“Because of this open relationship, they’ve developed an interesting methodology for the stock assessment prioritization, thus allowing the scientific community to escape the burden of assessing every stock, every year. The criteria for prioritization is very clear, objective, and transparent. This is something we can definitely consider in Europe.” The business-like environment of the meetings provided stakeholders a strong sense of ownership over the decision making process, again allowing community, business, and science members to come together to discuss fisheries management.
Finally, Ernesto was really impressed by the ways the NPFMC was looking into global warming and its impacts in Alaska. “The policies are very forward-looking. They go beyond the day-to-day management of things and are really looking to establish clear goals for increasing temperatures. This is clearly something I plan to bring back to the European Council.”
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