REGIONAL ADVISORY COUNCILS (RACs) - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
WHAT IS RACs?
RACs have been created as part of the process to reform the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)*. It is comprised of seven advisory bodies consisting of key stakeholders to discuss fish stock management, fishery rules and quotas on a regional basis. The seven RACs represent five bodies of water throughout Europe and two which manage aquatic species of anglers interest. They are:
· Baltic Sea
· North Sea
· Mediterranean Sea
· North West Waters (NWW) - Irish Sea, Celtic Sea
· South West Waters (SWW) - SW approaches, Bay of Biscay
· PELAGIC RAC - i.e. mackerel and other pelagic species
· Distant Waters RAC - i.e. Africa and further afield, including various international fisheries management bodies re tuna, salmon and other game species
As well as representing the interests of the waterways of Europe and its endangered species, it works closely with the ICCAT (International Council for Conservation of Atlantic Tuna) and NASCO (North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation).
RACs is independent of the EU Commission. Through the Executive Committee, which is formed through an election at the annual General Assembly (GA - see STRUCTURE below), policies are reviewed and voted at meetings held three to four times a year. Relevant stakeholders can join RACs for a small subscription fee.
The GA elects a Chairman and Vice-Chairman and Executive Committee. Of the 24 members that make up the Executive Committee, 2/3rds are from the Commercial Sector and 1/3rd are classified as 'other' - i.e. the greens and recreational sector.
RACs and EFTTA – HOW DO WE CONTRIBUTE
EFTTA lobbied hard to ensure the inclusion of the recreational sector on the anglers behalf. Previously, the recreational sector had no seat on the RACs committee and therefore, no involvement or say. As a result of the lobby, EFTTA/EAA was awarded one seat and essentially put recreational sea fishing on the map in Europe for the first time. This is a huge achievement towards revolutionising the reform process of the CPF.
For more information on RACs or EFTTA's involvement, please contact Jan Kappel, EFTTA lobbyist.
*Common Fisheries Policy (CPF) - is the fisheries policy of the European Union. It sets quotas for which member states are allowed to catch what amounts of each types of fish, as well as encouraging the fishing industry by various market interventions. In 2004 it had a budget of €931 million, approximately 0.75% of the EU budget.