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How RACs work

Published: 05/04/2011

The RACs consist of a mix of different interest groups. Two-thirds of the members must be representatives of the fishing sector: various fishing organisations, the processing industry and representatives of harbours and markets, etc. The remaining third consists of “other interests”: environmental organisations, consumer organisations, water users, sports fishermen and others who are affected by the Common Fisheries Policy.

The boards of the RACs are known as Executive Committees and consist of up to 24 members. The same proportions again apply to membership, so out of 24 places, the fishing sector has 16 and other interest groups have eight places.

Work is conducted mainly on the consensus principle – which means that the fishing sector and other interest organisations must co-operate if the councils are to work as intended. Researchers and representatives of the national authorities can only attend the meetings of the councils as invited experts or observers.

It is the task of the RACs to draw up recommendations and proposals concerning fishing in the relevant area and submit these to the EU Commission and/or relevant national authorities. This can be done on request from the authorities or on the initiative of the RACs themselves. In order to carry out the work that is expected of the councils, the Executive Committees can call on the assistance of working groups that focus on various specialist subjects.

The Fisheries Secretariat is a member of the Baltic Sea Regional Advisory Council, and is one of the eight representatives in the “other interest group” that sit on the Executive Committee. In the BS RAC, FISH is also particularly active in the Demersal Working Group. We coordinate our work in the RAC with representatives of other environmental, angling and consumer NGOs in theBaltic Searegion. It is our hope that alongside other stakeholders and the fishing sector, we can reach agreement on initiatives to preserve fish stocks and the natural environment in theBaltic Sea.

Three working groups have been formed under BS RAC: the Demersal WG (demersal = bottom-dwelling fish) with the emphasis on cod, the Pelagic WG (pelagic = belonging to the open sea) which focuses mainly on herring and sprats, and the Salmon WG (covering both salmon and sea trout).