EBCD is member of the Executive Committee of the Long Distance AC, the North West Waters AC and the Pelagic AC.

In accordance with its main principle of full stakeholders involvement EBCD actively participates to the works of the several working groups, executive committees and general assemblies, contributing with its expertise and network.

The Advisory Councils (ACs) are stakeholder-led organisations that provide the Commission and EU countries with recommendations on fisheries management matters. This may include advice on conservation and socio-economic aspects of management, and on simplification of rules. Advisory Councils are consulted in the context of regionalisation. Advisory Councils should also contribute to data for fisheries management and conservation measures.


Their role is to submit opinions to the Commission and Member States on different aspects of fisheries management.

They also provide useful arenas for bringing together people from different backgrounds and helping to develop a better understanding between the scientific community

and the fishing industry. They are not part of the formal decision-making process, but the quality of their advice, based on practical experience of the local waters and fisheries concerned, gives them influence. The Commission is not under any legal obligation to consult them, but in practice it does so.

Composition and structure

Each AC must include stakeholders from at least two Member States. They each have a general assembly, an executive committee and different working groups or focus groups. Each AC is free to establish the groups it needs to perform its work. The WGs discuss issues in detail and prepare draft positions for the Executive Committee, which decides on the advice or recommendations sent to different authorities.

Advisory Councils are composed of representatives from the industry and from other interest groups (with a 60% – 40% allocation of the seats in the general assembly and the executive committee). They receive EU financial assistance as bodies pursuing an aim of general European interest.

The ‘fisheries sector’ is defined as including ship owners, small-scale fishermen, employed fishermen, producer and other market organisations, processors, traders and women’s networks. ‘Other interest groups’ range from environmental organisations, aquaculture producers and consumers to recreational and sport fishermen.

The Commission and regional and national representatives of Member States may be present at the meetings as observers.

Non-members such as experts and observers may be invited to participate to the AC’s work.

The meetings of the general assembly and the executive committee are open to the public.


The ACs adopt recommendations and suggestions on fishery policies in the area the AC covers, and submit them to the Commission and/or to the relevant national authorities. Submissions may be in response to a request from these bodies or on the ACs’ own initiative. Recommendations and suggestions are adopted where possible, by consensus. They are drafted and discussed in the various working group and then deferred to the general assembly for adoption.

The European Commission meets with the ACs on a regular basis to discuss current policy initiatives and priorities, as well as to ensure coordination on issues that concern all ACs.

Advisory Councils

There are seven Regional Advisory Councils under the CFP. Five are based on geographically and biologically coherent zones. The two others are based on the exploitation of certain stocks: pelagic stocks in Community waters (except in the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas), and high-sea fisheries outside Community waters.

Baltic Sea AC , operational since March 2006, it covers ICES areas IIIb, IIIc, IIId. The members are from Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden.

The Working groups are on: demersal; pelagic; salmon and sea trout fisheries.

Long Distance AC, operational since March 2007 in all non-EU waters, it attracted interest from Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Spain, France, Portugal, Poland, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Ireland and the UK.

The working groups are on): highly migratory fish stocks and related Regional Fisheries Organisations (RFOs); RFOs and Northern agreements; long distant waters not included in any RFO; bilateral relations with third countries; horizontal issues (such as health and safety, IUU).

Mediterranean Sea AC, operational since September 2008, it brings together organisations from Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Malta, Cyprus and Slovenia.

North Sea AC, operational since November 2004, it covers ICES areas IV, IIIa. The members are from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.

The working groups are on demersal species; flatfish; spatial planning; Kattegat and Skaggerak; socio-economic issues.

North-western waters AC, operational since September 2005, it covers ICES V (excluding Va and only EC waters in Vb), VI, VII. The members are from Belgium, Spain, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK.

The working groups are on West of Scotland (ICES areas Vb (EC), VIa, VIb) – Western Approaches; West of Ireland and Celtic Sea (ICES areas VII except d, e & a); English Channel (ICES areas VIId & e); Irish Sea (ICES area VIIa).

Pelagic stocks AC, operational since August 2005, it focuses on blue whiting, mackerel, horse mackerel and herring in all EU waters except the Baltic Sea and Mediterranean. The members are from Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and United Kingdom.

The working groups are on herring and mackerel; blue whiting, horse mackerel and other species.

South-western waters AC, operational since April 2007, it covers ICES areas VIII, IX and X (waters around Azores) and CECAF divisions 34.1.1. 34.1.2 and 34.2.0 (waters around Madeira and the Canary Islands). The members are from Belgium, France, Portugal, Netherlands and Spain.

The working groups are on ICES areas VIII and IX (except anchovy and sardine); pelagic stocks (anchovy, sardine and ICCAT species); insular subdivision; traditional fisheries. There is also a focus group on deep water species.

Aquaculture AC, whose role is to evaluate and propose any general measures on aquaculture to the public authorities and competent bodies.

To provide opinions on aquaculture production and operating methods, notably concerning the coexistence of different activities in a given production area, good farming practices, particularly concerning aquatic animal health and welfare, use of resources, responsible and sustainable development, technical measures to improve operating performance, protect endangered stocks, to prevent the spread of pathogens and diseases, the proper functioning of the market for aquaculture products, especially marketing and the traceability of aquaculture products up to the retail sale stage, including the relevant sanitary and organoleptic standards and protecting and improving the quality of the environment and aquaculture waters.

Outermost regions AC,  divided into three sections for each of the following sea basins: West Atlantic, East Atlantic and Indian Ocean.

Market AC, improve the transparency and stability of the markets, in particular as regards economic knowledge and understanding of the Union markets for fishery and aquaculture products along the supply chain.