While ICES advice as an end product is well-known, the scientific processes that culminate in it are less so. Through various means such as training courses and workshops, efforts are continually made to ensure that the work is transparent to those with a professional interest in the advice.
Held every January, the MIACO meeting draws organizations and individuals which hold observer status at ICES - including representatives from EU Advisory Councils, fishing organizations, and environmental NGOs. The meeting provided an opportunity to strengthen much-needed stakeholder cooperation and enables confidence building in the advisory process.
The meeting was also used for communicating the basis of ICES advice and the advisory framework – the categories that fish and shellfish stocks are grouped into depending on the level of available data.
Part of MIACO involved a discussion on ICES benchmark system, the means through which the best assessment and data methodology for a particular stock is decided upon, as well as stakeholder involvement in the advisory process. A good example of this involvement happening recently was with a request for advice last year on bottom-contacting fishing and the relationship between what happens to the seabed (the benthic zone) relative to what is caught and landed at port. Here, a series of workshops feeding into the advice included stakeholders to explore the associated trade-offs.
Also meeting the same week were the recipients of ICES advice (MIRIA). This, similarly, gives clients a chance to further their awareness of how the advisory process works as well as explore common challenges.
MIACO participants at the 2018 meeting