Regional Coordination Group on Large Pelagic
The principal aim of the RCG (Regional Coordination Groups) is to give more responsibility to MS (Member States of the European Union) and better involve end users of scientific data in data collection (ref. article 26 of EU regulation 2017/1004). Initially, this group was materialized by one single meeting (RCM for Regional Coordination Meeting). Since this regulation and the progress toward an RCG, the cooperation evolves through a continuous process, with greater responsibilities to the MS. Furthermore, in this framework third countries (like Seychelles or Senegal) should also be involved in the discussion. A specification concerning the RCG-LP, normally the RCGs (like the RCG Mediterranean and the Black Sea or the RCG Baltic Sea) are focusing on a geographical area (or regional area). The RCG-LP is focusing on a group of species. Any countries involve in the large pelagic fisheries could be included and members of this group.
For practical example, this group should be tasked to develop and implement procedures and methods (for example the Tropical Tunas Treatment, T3), quality assurance and quality control (at national and regional levels), Regional Sampling Plans (RSP), for collecting and processing data.
Otherwise, the RCG should also aim to develop and implement regional databases or start any other process in order to attain this goal. Behind this objective, the RCG can be seen as a reference group, between the national-regional level and the RFMO or other end users (with EU before the end users for MS). The purpose of this group will be to harmonize and standardize data come from national level through a regional level before transmission to end users. This schema is in opposition to the actual where each country transmitted data (with quality controls and treatments associated, not always shared and standardized) to the end users (through the way of the EU for the MS).
A new structure for the RCG-LP was proposed and adopted during the last meeting in 2019 (see figure below). This structure was established thought the work package 1 of the RECOLAPE project (Strengthening Regional cooperation in the area of large pelagic fisheries data collection, ended in 2019).
This new architecture was divided in 3 major boxes: - The first stage (on the top), focusing on data needs and gaps with the goal to identify priorities in terms of data collection and improve communication among scientists involved in data collection and stock assessment. The stage match with the actual meeting of the RCG. - The second stage with 4 subgroups (another subgroup focusing on bail boat fishery was proposed recently and not presented here yet) with the aims to standardization and coordination of the sampling at fleet level. For made a link with the present subject, T3 meetings (technical and restitution) are materialized by the first subgroup. These subgroups could provide recommendations and advices to the first stage. It is noted that some of these subgroups already existed for several years. - The third stage where recommendations exposed in the first two stages are approval (mainly if there are budget implications). This last stage corresponds to the liaison and decision meetings.