In May 2020 the European Commission (EC) launched a call for proposals for strengthening regional cooperation in the area of fisheries data collection (MARE/2020/08), building on the results of the calls launched in 2014 and 2016 and other relevant existing work. This call is financed under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and managed by DG Mare, aiming to support projects that further enable RCGs and Member States to strengthen regional or EU-wide cooperation on data collection.
The EC identifies three main challenges that should be addressed, related to the production of regional work plans, administration and coordination issues and regional databases.
Within this context, three regional-scoped projects have been funded and started in January 2021:
- Strengthening EU-MAP data collection by developing Regional Work Plans for NANS&EA, Baltic and Large Pelagics RCG and PGECON, FISHN’CO –coordinated by IFREMER-, aimed at providing added value to the RCG Inter Sessional Sub Groups (ISSG) and PGECON and work in complement to them with the specific goal of proposing elements of Regional Work Plans (RWP) for each of their activities;
- Streamlining the establishment of regional work plans in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, STREAMLINE –coordinated by CIBM-, aimed at drafting Regional Work Plans (RWPs) for the Mediterranean and Black Sea related to specific topics through a co-creative work process with the RCG Med&BS and Member States, and taking into consideration insights from other fora (e.g., STECF EWG 20-16)
- Development of the Regional Database for the Mediterranean & Black Seas, Med&BS RDB –coordinated by HCMR-, aimed at developing a regional database (RDB) for the Mediterranean and the Black Seas with the aim to enable reliable scientific advice and to support the work of the RCGs;
A fourth project, Developing mechanisms to support the planning and execution of administrative tasks and the branding and online visibility of the RCGs and PG ECON with the aim to establish a long-term supportive structure, SECWEB –coordinated by ILVO- has been designed to mainly address the administrative and coordination challenges. It is aimed at:
- Developing a framework and setting up a secretariat in support of fluent administrative procedures of the RCGs and establish a long-term script, including a suitable financial scenario for that;
- Promoting good practices in communication within and among the RCGs and engaging with all the stakeholders and the general public;
- Developing and setting up a website linked with existing (relevant) websites and online repositories, and to improve the overall capacity to reach out to a wider audience about past and present RCG work and outcomes;
- Identifying tools to increase the visibility of the work and outputs of the RCGs.
In coherence with the overarching objective of the call (strengthening regional cooperation), all projects foresee activities open to the participation of a large scope of organisations dealing with the Data Collection Framework, including work-plan developers, campaign performers, different levels of end-users and, in general, any interested party. Specifically, SECWEB partners, together with all RCG chairs, coordinators of all project funded under MARE/2020/08 call and the involved DG Mare team are invited to participate in the upcoming 1st Project Assembly Meeting, to be held on April 14th.