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Cefas scientists to lead sessions at World Fisheries Congress

23 October 2014

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Cefas scientists are due to make major contributions during the 6th World Fisheries Congress (WFC), which takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland, 7-11 May 2012.

Cefas provides research and advisory, consultancy and monitoring services to the UK government and other public- and private-sector clients.

Its scientists also hold key positions within international bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), which provides detailed advice for European Commissioners and national ministers. The Secretariat for the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) is also delivered by Cefas.

Dr John Pinnegar, Programme Director of Cefas' Marine Climate Change Centre (MC3), sat on the local Organising Committee for the 6th WFC, and says: " Alex Salmond, the First Minister for Scotland, opens the Congress on Tuesday. Later that day there will be a high-level debate about the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, involving UK ministers and representatives from the EU Commission and WWF.

"UK and Scottish Fisheries Ministers, Richard Benyon and Richard Lochhead respectively, will also launch an MCCIP 'special topic' Report Card. This focuses on climate change, fisheries and aquaculture."

John Pinnegar will also be presenting a talk on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and climate change, arguing that changes in seawater temperatures may mean that species shift away from designated protected areas, so MPA boundaries and objectives may need to be more adaptive to such changes in the future.

Other Cefas scientists are chairing major topic areas.

For instance, Dr Simon Jennings co-chairs the "Sustainable fisheries: reconciling conservation objectives" strand, which includes 29 speakers in four sessions over two days. The sessions will explore trade-offs between fish production and the conservation of vulnerable species, habitats and the ecosystem.

Simon Jennings is also involved in seven other talks, ranging from climate change impacts on marine shelf ecosystems to quantifying the recovery rates and resilience of seabed habitats to bottom fishing.

Drs David Righton and Alan Walker are convening a major symposium on the conservation of the global eel fishery. The session will include 50 speakers over three days, with six keynote speakers from around the world, one of whom will give a major conference address.  The Cefas pair are also hosting an IUCN Anguilla (eel) specialist workshop.

David Righton says: "We're really happy with the representation that one small family of fish has attracted, and we hope to spread some crucial messages about eels and about the eeliad project."

Cefas has led the EU's eeliad project, and Cefas scientists were recognised at the 2011 Civil Service Awards for their innovative "flotsam tags", used to track eels' migration to the Sargasso Sea - still a relative mystery.

Throughout the rest of the week there will be a series of debates focusing on standards and certification, illegal fishing and financing sustainable fisheries. Representatives from the fishing industry, food companies, major supermarkets, universities and learned institutes, and specialist non-governmental organisations will attend alongside scientists and policy-makers.

Other Cefas scientists presenting their work include:

Steve Mackinson
Modelling changes in the North Sea ecosystem: showing strong evidence that temperature is an important driver of change in the North Sea, and arguing that modelling must go hand in hand with empirical analysis. Steve Mackinson will also be on hand to represent GAP2, a European fisheries-science project that he leads.

Will Le Quesne
Predicting reference points and trade-offs associated with fishing impacts on biodiversity: providing a preliminary assessment of the extent of trade-offs between fishery yields and the conservation status of a range of demersal fish in the northeast Atlantic ecosystem.

Will Le Quesne will also present a paper on the ecosystem effects of ocean acidification on fisheries: arguing that potential effects require a fuller understanding of the sensitivity of different biological processes across species.

Michael Armstrong, Andrew Payne and Thomas Catchpole
The UK's Fisheries Science Partnership (which Cefas leads):  analysing, amongst other things, whether or not the programme has been successful in improving the engagement of the fishing industry in the science-management process.

Julian Metcalfe
Fish welfare in wild-capture marine fisheries: asking whether this subject is likely to move further up the public agenda.

Sven Kupschus
Exploring the ecosystem approach to fisheries management: arguing that a unified monitoring strategy can improve both fisheries and ecosystem advice, enabling us to distinguish local effects from ecosystem ones.

For a full programme, information about keynote speakers and abstracts of the WFC presentations visit http://www.6thwfc2012.com/scientific-programme/.

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Last Modified: 27 April 2014