BSAC established new working group for ecosystem based management

Published on March 31, 2017

The Baltic Sea Advisory Council, BSAC, 28 March established a sub working group that will produce advice on the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Management, EAM. At the first meeting of the sub group, which will report to the demersal working group, Nils Höglund from Coalition Clean Baltic was elected Chair.

The group was comprised of members from the pelagic, demersal, and coastal fishing segments, along with processers, environmental organisations and governmental representatives. Together they developed a draft work programme with a range of topics that would seek to improve fisheries management in the region.

After an introduction of the working groups terms of reference by the newly elected chair, Mark Dickey-Collas of ICES made a presentation on the Ecosystem Based approach to Fisheries Management, EBFM. In his presentation he highlighted four EBM principles that Atlantic Canadian fishermen has identified as a priority: Sustainability, Stakeholder Involvement, Development of Long-Term Objectives and Use of All Forms of Knowledge. According to the article Key principles of ecosystem-based management: the fishermen’s perspective, the latter two priorities are not frequently noted as priorities in the literature, while some literature priorities were less commonly chosen by fishermen, indicating a significant difference in perspectives on EBM.

Mark Dickey-Collas also listed six ingredients for success in EBFM (Marshak et al 2016): 1. Develop frameworks for implementation 2. Be clear regarding trade-offs and synergies (there will always winners and losers!) 3. Find an honest champion 4. Use whatever governance mandate exists 5. Acknowledge the power of ownership between sectors 6. Use momentum but temper expectations.

The meeting participants recognised the lack of a clear framework for implementation of EBFM in the Baltic Sea. HELCOM was brought forward as a relevant forum when it comes to, for example, management of the seal population.

“HELCOM has a standing open invitation to the BSAC working group meetings”, said Michael Andersen, BSAC demersal WG chair who represents the Danish fisheries producers organisation, DFPO, and stressed that he would like to see more HELCOM participation in the future.

Henrik Beha Pedersen, founder of Plastic Change, made a presentation about micro plastics and urged the industry representatives to come forward as champions in fighting Baltic Sea plastic pollution,

“It is better to be defined as part of the solution than a part of the problem. Now you have the opportunity to make a clear stance”, he said, and the meeting agreed to keep in contact with Plastic change.

The working group represents a much needed follow up to work which began in BSAC in 2012 when a seminar on the ecosystem approach was organised. BSAC Chair Reine Johansson subsequently said “we have to take this further” and promised that the advisory council would further take ecosystem considerations into account.