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ISSG Surveys Meeting 2024

The RCG Intersessional Subgroup on Surveys met from 28 Feb to 1 March 2024 at the Danish Technical University (DTU) in Lyngby/DNK to discuss the 2024 ToRs for the group. The meeting was chaired by Sieto Verver (NLD) and Christoph Stransky (DEU).

The main task for the group was to identify surveys that qualify for possible cost-sharing between EU Member States. In short, following the provisions in the DCF (Data Collection Framework), Member States having a stake in a certain TAC (Total Allowable Catch) should contribute to surveys supporting the advice process related to that TAC. For the majority of the surveys, relevant Member States are already involved and for some surveys cost-sharing agreements are already in place.

The ISSG produced up-to-date overviews to provide insight into the current task-sharing between Member States in relation to their respective TAC shares. The outcome of this exercise will be forwarded for follow-up to the National Correspondents. They may discuss how to proceed with this exercise and whether or not specific arrangements are needed for specific surveys. For the International Blue Whiting Survey and the International Ecosystem Survey in the Nordic Seas, cost-sharing agreements have been in place for years. The ISSG drafted updated agreements for 2025 and these will be presented to the National Correspondents for approval in September.

Next to this huge task, the group made a few editorial changes to finalise the survey parts of the Regional Workplan for the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic, North Sea and Eastern Arctic regions for 2025-2027. Moreover, the ISSG monitored and discussed the influence of external factors on surveys. Ideas and experiences were exchanged, in particular concerning the impact of closed areas (windfarms, marine protected areas) on the survey performance. The impact is heavily dependent on the type of survey. Bottom trawl surveys may encounter several influences on the execution of the survey, while acoustic surveys may be less affected. At this stage, no common approach could be defined, yet it was agreed to continue to monitor the impact. Similarly, no common approach concerning the embedding of emerging (sampling/monitoring) techniques in survey programmes could be defined. The group had a fruitful discussion on developments in the analysis of genetic material, e.g. species and stock identification, ageing of fish, kinship, and developments towards non-invasive survey methods while maintaining or improving data quality and quantity.

The outcomes of the ISSG will be presented to the RCG Technical Meeting in June 2024.