Information on the UKs implementation of the EU Data Collection Framework
The European Commission’s Data Collection Framework (DCF) establishes a European Community framework for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector and support for scientific advice regarding the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). It seeks to provide scientists and others responsible for making decisions on the management of fisheries with the information they need. One significant area of the DCF is the setting out of the scientific data that are needed as inputs into the annual assessments of fish stocks.
Article 25(2) of the newly reformed common fisheries policy (sets out the key principles for data collection:
- reliability and timeliness
- avoidance of duplication through improved coordination
- safe storage in database systems
- improved availability of data
- compliance with laws on personal data protection
- access for the European Commission, enabling it to check the availability and quality of data and the methodology used to collect them.
These principles will be central to a Commission proposal for a revised Data Collection Framework regulation that is currently being prepared.
The Data Collection Framework is co-funded by the European Commission under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) which the fund for the EU’s maritime and fisheries policies for 2014-2020. It is one of the five European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds which complement each other and seek to promote a growth and job based recovery in Europe.
Pending the introduction of the revised regulation, the DCF will be underpinned by the existing regulation: EC Regulation 199/2008. This sets out the broad requirements relating to the:
- collection, management and use of data in the framework of multi-national programmes
- the data management process
- use of data collected in the framework of the Common Fisheries Policy
- support for scientific advice.
Under the regulations, member states are required to compile a wide range of biological and economic data as specified in the Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/1251 of 12 July 2016 which sets out the requirements for 2017-19. The requirements include:
- biological data on stocks caught by Union commercial fisheries and by recreational fisheries;
- data to assess the impact of Union fisheries on the marine ecosystem;
- detailed data on the capacity and activity of Union fishing;
- social and economic data on fisheries ;
- social, economic and environmental data on aquaculture;
In order to meet the DCF requirements, each member state is required to set out the programme of work they will undertake. The rules on the format and content of work plans are set out in Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/1701 of 19 August 2016.
The UK’s National Correspondent for the Data Collection Framework is Matt Elliott
UK work programme
Under the EMFF, each Member States has submitted an Operational Programme which outlines activities including data collection that will be co-funded. A more detailed programme of work is drawn up annually as required by Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/1701. The The UK programme sets out the work to be carried out by the three fisheries laboratories and other organisations such as Seafish. The currently adopted UK national programme with information representing the period 2017 to 2019 is available below:
The laboratories are among the leading providers of scientific research and services to government, non-governmental and commercial organisations in the UK. As such, they are responsible for collecting biological data and undertaking research surveys to meet the Data Collection Framework (DCF) requirements:
- England and Wales: Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)
- Scotland: Marine Scotland
- Northern Ireland: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
Seafish, a non-departmental public body, established to promote good quality, sustainable seafood, is commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the MMO and Marine Scotland to collect data on a range of economic variables covered by the DCF.
In order to assess whether or not each member states’ programme of work complies with its obligations, and can therefore be regarded as valid by the Commission, the programmes are reviewed by independent scientists and economists involved in fisheries work (through the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee of Fisheries forum (STECF).
Quality assurance and quality control
Article 5 of Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/1701 requires the description of a quality assurance and quality control framework in publicly available documents referred to in the work plans, where appropriate. Supporting documents for the work plan for 2017 to 2019 when available will be published here:
Table 5A: Quality assurance framework for biological data
Sampling for biological variables:
Anadromous and catadromous species data collection in fresh water:
Table 5B: Quality assurance framework for socio-economic data
In addition to the information required by the EU Regulations, the UK’s EMFF Operational programme makes provision for collection of data to monitor the effects of the landing obligation. This requirement will in part be met through the piloting of fully documented fisheries (catch quota trials). This work has been part of the UK’s multi-annual work programme since 2013 and will continue under the 2017 to 2019 programme.
Each year, member states are required to submit an annual report providing details of their national programmes undertaken in the previous year.
The most recent technical report and accompanying tables, with those for earlier years can be found on the STECF website.
The following organisations working together with the national correspondent based in the Marine Management Organisation contribute to the various elements of the Data Collection Framework (DCF), including to the UK’s national programme proposals and technical reports. Science co-ordinators from England and Wales (CEFAS and Environment Agency), Northern Ireland (Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute - AFBI) and Scotland (Marine Scotland) are responsible for delivery of UK fishery and survey data. All three laboratories carry out shore-based and sea-based sampling of UK fleets operating in waters off each country, as well as conducting internationally-coordinated surveys. The Environment Agency and NRW have a role in working with CEFAS in carrying out activities related to eels in river systems in England and Wales. Economic data on marine fisheries are collected by Seafish collects and those for aquaculture are collected by CEFAS.
The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) is an internationally renowned aquatic scientific research and consultancy centre. They based in Lowestoft and Weymouth.
It aims to be the prime source of high quality science used to conserve and enhance the aquatic environment, promote sustainable management of its natural resources, and protect the public from aquatic contaminants.
Marine Scotland is the lead marine management organisation in Scotland. It was established on 1 April 2009 as a directorate of the Scottish Government, to integrate core marine functions involving scientific research, compliance monitoring, policy and management of Scotland’s seas.
Marine Scotland combines the functions and resources of the former Scottish Government Marine Directorate, Fisheries Research Services and the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) is based in Belfast and is a leading provider of scientific research and services to government, non-governmental and commercial organisations. With their unique breadth of facilities and scientific capability in agriculture, animal health, food, environment, biosciences and economics AFBI conducts a wide range of valuable projects for both the public and private sectors.
The Environment Agency is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. The EA works to create better places for people and wildlife, and support sustainable development.
Natural Resources Wales is a Welsh Government Sponsored Body. Its purpose is to ensure that the natural resources of Wales are sustainably maintained, enhanced and used. Seafish the authority on seafood, works across all sectors of the seafood industry to promote good quality, sustainable seafood. Its research and projects are aimed at raising standards, improving efficiency and ensuring that our industry develops in a viable way. Seafish is the UK’s only cross-industry seafood body working with fishermen, processors, wholesalers, seafood farmers, fish friers, caterers, retailers and the import/export trade. Seafish is commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Marine Management Organisation and Marine Scotland to collect data on a range of economic variables covered by the DCF.
A non-departmental public body), it is sponsored by the four UK government fisheries departments and funded by a levy on seafood.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is a government department in the UK. Its priorities are to:
- secure a healthy natural environment for us all and deal with environmental risks
- promote a sustainable, low-carbon and resource-efficient economy
- ensure a thriving farming sector and a sustainable, healthy and secure food supply.
Research commissioned by Defra’s Marine and Fisheries Science Unit:
- Defra’s role in marine science
- Defra’s marine research programme
- Marine and Fisheries Science Year Books
European and worldwide organisations
The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre collects a range of fisheries data from member states in a standard format, enabling them to be easily analysed by teams of independent experts. The information derived is then used to inform the Common Fisheries Policy.
The Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) is responsible for reviewing member states’ national programmes and other activities related to the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy. Established by the European Commission, STECF comprises highly qualified scientific personnel, particularly in the fields of marine biology, marine ecology, fisheries science, fishing gear technology and fishery economics.
STECF has the following working groups:
- PLEN: Plenary
- SG-BRE: Sub-group on balance between resources and the exploitation
- SG-ECA: Sub-group on economic affairs
- SG-FEN: Sub group on environmental impact
- SG-MED: Sub-group on the Mediterranean Sea and on the Black sea
- SG-MOS: Sub-group on management objectives and strategies
- SG-RN: Sub-group on research needs
- SG-RST: Sub-group on stock reviews
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea’s (ICES) mission is to advance the scientific capacity to give advice on human activities affecting, and affected by, marine ecosystems.
ICES co-ordinates and promotes marine research on oceanography, the marine environment, the marine ecosystem, and on living marine resources in the North Atlantic.
Its members include all coastal states bordering the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, with affiliate members in the Mediterranean Sea and southern hemisphere.
The North West Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) is an inter-governmental fisheries science and management body.
NAFO was founded in 1979 as a successor to the International Commission of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (ICNAF) (1949-1978). NAFO’s overall objective is to contribute through consultation and co-operation to the optimum use, rational management and conservation of the fishery resources of the convention area.
The EU Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries is responsible for steering, in close relationship with stakeholders at regional and European level, the development and implementation of the Integrated Maritime Policy and to manage the Common Fisheries Policy. This is done with a view to promote the sustainable development of maritime activities as well as the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources within and beyond Community waters. As such, the directorate’s functions include management of the Data Collection Framework.
Marine data sources
The Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN), a partnership of public and private sector organisations working to provide harmonised stewardship and access to marine data and information. In doing so, it seeks to facilitate improved management of the seas and round the UK.
MEDIN has established four marine data archive centres:
- the British Oceanographic Data Centre
- the Data Archive for Seabed Species Habitats
- the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
- British Geological Survey
MEDIN has also identified a further two candidate data archive centres, one for fisheries and one for marine meterology.