Regional management through RACs
The membership in the Baltic Sea AC is one way to influence the formulation of fisheries policy and other measures that affect fish stocks and the natural environment of the Baltic Sea, as it provides advice and submits proposals to the European Commission and the Member States in the region. We focus particularly on the management of Baltic cod, reducing illegal fishing and increasing gear selectivity.
The creation of Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) was one of the pillars of the 2002 reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The decision to set up regional councils was taken following pressure from various stakeholders who found it difficult to exert any influence on the decisions that shape the way the fisheries sector is managed.
A total of seven RACs have been set up in the EU, of which Baltic Sea AC is one. The North Sea RAC was the first to be set up and has in many ways served as a model for the work of the others With the new EU Member States to the East, there is a possibility that a Black Sea RAC will be established at some point.
Following a number of preparatory meetings, the Baltic Sea AC was formally established on 15 March 2006. The secretariat is located in Copenhagen and its work is directed by the Secretary, Sally Clink. The former Chairman of the Swedish Fishermen’s Federation, Reine Johansson, is Chair of the Executive Committee and Ewa Milewska from WWF Poland is the Vice Chair.
Since beginning its work in 2006, the Baltic Sea AC has given particular attention to a number of important issues. A milestone in 2006 was advice related to the long-term management plan for cod in the Baltic Sea. In 2007, the BS AC held a conference on illegal fishing – a hot topic in the region at that time. Since then, issues such as rights-based management, marine spatial planning and ways to improve the selectivity in the Baltic cod fisheries have been explored.