Summary

During the last meeting of the Ecologically Related Species Working Group (ERSWG), members agreed to ‘’address the definition of ’high risk areas’ through discussion of papers presented at ERSWG1’’. This task was put forward to reflect both the recognised risk to seabirds posed by this fishery and the need to direct limited resources to areas of greatest need.

The most recent Commission meeting also gave the ERSWG specific instructions that there be work undertaken to develop a multi-year strategy that identifies research, monitoring needs, and actions to reduce uncertainty and associated risks. Such an exercise will be significantly enhanced if it can be done under an agreed definition of ‘high risk areas’.

The Terms of Reference for this group also state that the ERSWG is to provide advice on measures to minimise fishery effect on ecologically related species. Having an agreed definition of ‘high risk areas’ will allow this group to provide effective and focused advice to decrease risk to seabirds, and also to avoid imposing a potentially unnecessary burden on operators.