The Outermost Regions Advisory Council (ORAC) is the most recent fisheries advisory council to be created in the European Union. Its objective is to inform the European Commission and member states about the issues, challenges and good practices of management and conservation of fishing resources in the outermost regions, but also to propose solutions to overcome them and to promote sustainable fisheries and healthy marine ecosystems, as well as meeting the targets of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in these territories.
ORAC is composed by entities from the outermost regions of Portugal, Spain and France: the Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Mayotte, Reunion, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique and St. Martin; as well as some national and international entities.
This advisory council is particularly important to Portugal, due to the high ecological relevance of Madeira and Azores, as well as their numerous coastal communities which depend on the sound and sustainable management of the local marine resources, some of them being of high economic interest such as tunas and deep sea species. These and other conservation issues in the autonomous Portuguese regions have been followed by Sciaena by many years.
Thus, it was only natural for Sciaena to take on the challenge of being part of the ORAC since its inception, joining not only its Executive Committee but also three working groups: Pelagic fisheries; Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fisheries (IUU); and Benthic and Demersal Fisheries, the latter on the role of vice-president.
ORAC has recently launched its new website, where information about its structure, meetings and relevant documents can be found.
Besides ORAC, Sciaena is also an active member of the Pelagic Advisory Council since 2014 and of the South West Waters Advisory Council since 2015.
Sciaena considers that the creation of advisory councils was one of the best measures in the CFP reform of 2014. Advisory councils are crucial for proper regionalization and we believe they are essential for the right implementation of the CFP, as they materialize genuine, timely and continuous participation by stakeholders in decision processes, which we consider essential for efficient and effective fisheries management.