Evaluating how the European Commission consults with fishery sector stakeholders through ACFA

ACFA (The Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture) has for some years provided a mechanism for consultation between the European Commission and Europe’s fishing industry. In 1998/99 Nautilus headed up a consortium to map how Europe’s fishing industries were represented at national and European levels, followed by an evaluation of the function and operation of the then Advisory Committee on Fisheries. The review resulted in fundamental restructuring of the committee to incorporate the interests of both aquaculture operators and environmental organisations, as well as fishing operators, processors and unions.

In 2008, at the invitation of Cowi Consultants of Denmark, Nautilus joined their team undertaking a mid-term review of ACFA. This review sought to identify potential overlaps between the mandates of ACFA and the recently formed Regional Advisory Committees (RACs) , to evaluate the outcomes of involving aquaculture and environmental interests in the consultation process, and to assess how best to incorporate representation from the newest member countries of the European Union. It also sought to identify opportunities for achieving further gains in committee operation and to evaluate the impact of the committee’s contribution to EU policy formation.