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Report from the MPR kick-off meeting

Mikkelsen, Nina; Nielsen, Kåre Nolde; Aschan, Michaela; Kvalvik, Ingrid; Hermansen, Øystein; Santiago, José Luis; Vidal, Duarte F.; Rincón, Margarita M.; Ruiz, Javier; Stobberup, Kim; Stobberup, Kim; Rangel, Mafalda; Davidson, Mary Frances

FarFish is a H2020 project that aims to provide knowledge, tools and methods to support responsible, sustainable and profitable EU fisheries outside European waters. To achieve this, FarFish will develop practical, achievable and cost-effective fisheries management tools and advice. The work will be done in collaboration of scientists, policy makers, resource users and other stakeholders aimed to improve fisheries management competences. A key output of the project are case specific Management Plan Recommendations (MPRs) that are based on Results-Based Management (RBM) principles in line with the Responsive Fisheries Management System (RFMS) approach, which was developed in the FP7 project EcoFishMan. The fisheries included in FarFish are in the high-seas areas of the SW-Atlantic Ocean (FAO area 41) and the SE-Atlantic Ocean (FAO area 47); as well as in the waters of Cape Verde, Senegal, Mauritania and the Seychelles. In line with the RFMS approach, the engagement of stakeholders is highly prioritized in the project. Wide variety of stakeholders have been contacted throughout the first year of the project in order to contribute to the development of the MPRs. The first multi-stakeholder physical meeting was held in Vigo, Spain, on the 26th -27th of June 2018. The meeting was titled “Strengthening fisheries sustainability outside EU” and was the official MPR kick-off meeting. This document reports on that meeting. The aim of the meeting was to discuss stakeholders’ interests and needs, related to how they can contribute to the development of the MPRs, while improving the sustainability of the fishery of the EU fleet fishing in distant waters. The current status of the work in the different FarFish working groups and case studies were presented to inform the attendants on issueslike “where are we”, “what are the options” and “what do we need”. Despite all challenges in culture, language and interest/needs, progress was made on important issues in the project. Having representatives from both EU and China, as well as authorities from countries that haves signed Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPA) with the EU around the table was one important step towards strengthening EU fisheries sustainability outside EU waters. With relevance to the high-seas case studies, representatives from both the Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences (CAFS) and the Long Distance Advisory Council (LDAC) presented their views on the high-seas fisheries. LDAC emphasized the need for a level playing field for fishing operators from EU and nonEU countries, ensuring that all fleets abide by the same international rules and regulations. CAFS highlighted the challenges and main policies that apply to the Chinese distant water fleet and want to contribute actively towards goals aiming towards a more sustainable fishery. To ensure the best utilization of stakeholders’ knowledge and contribution, the participants from similar case studies separated into two working groups. In light of the communicated interests and needs of stakeholders, potential Outcome Targets (OTs) and management recommendations were drafted. Defining OTs is challenging as they are to be initially defined by authorities and implemented by operators, but through the cooperation of both authorities and operators, FarFish has now succeeded in drafting OTs that most stakeholders took part in the discussions of, which in accordance to the RFMS approach should ensure successful implementation of the MPRs. The fruitful discussions in this meeting emphasize that this exercise can be thought provoking. Work Package 3 (WP3) and Work Package 4 (WP4) drafted potential alternative scenarios after the meeting, based on outcomes of the meeting, the MP0 (see D4.1), and OTs presented in MPR Invitations (see D3.2). It is however, obvious that many management strategies will achieve a given OT, when the set indicators are yes/no or present/absent. In those cases, the need for modelling of scenarios is redundant.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 727891.
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