The Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution

Permanent Secretariat

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Terms of Reference, Advisory Group on Fisheries and other Marine Living Resources (FOMLR)

BSC 10.14e




The Advisory Group on Environmental Aspects of Management of Fisheries and Other Marine Living Resources provides the Commission with best possible advice and the technical support for protection and rehabilitation of marine ecosystem in particular for conservation and sustainable use the marine living resources (Annex I, BS SAP, 1996, amended 2002).

Legal Status and Institutional Structure

The Advisory Group Advisory Group on Environmental Aspects of Management of Fisheries and Other Marine Living Resources (AG FOMLR) is an integral part of the Black Sea Commission institutional structure and constitutes its subsidiary body:

a)  The AG FOMLR is comprised of the national focal points nominated by the member of the Black Sea Commission, director of the relevant activity center and is responsible for facilitation of links between the Black Sea Commission, the relevant national authorities and regional and national scientific expertise; the national focal points are responsible for the accurate and timely delivered national information on the management of fisheries and other living resources as it deems necessary for the Black Sea Commission.

b)  The Advisory Group on Environmental Aspects of Management of Fisheries and Other Marine Living Resources is supported by Activity Center on Environmental Aspects of Management of Fisheries and Other Marine Living Resources, Constanta, Romania , which coordinates the necessary programmatic support and provisions of practical technical support for its work. The Activity Center is based upon the one created following the Resolution 4, Item 3 of Bucharest diplomatic conference 1992 and with the assistance of BSEP and shall function with in-kind contribution by the Government of Romania with additional financial assistance from donors where possible and necessary. The members of the Advisory Group shall elect its chairperson among themselves for two years.

c)  Following the Rules of Procedure of the BSC the AG FOMLR may propose that any individual able to provide expertise related to the environmental aspects of management of fisheries and other living resources and assist in producing the recommendations required by the Black Sea Commission as well as assist the training activities within the work program of the Group will be invited to the events within the working plan of the Group.

Main responsibilities

The AG FOMLR acts in advisory, coordinating, and information capacities for the regional purposes of the Black Sea Commission by:

1.   drafting recommendations and policies for the Black Sea Commission for the followings:

a)  formulating the regional policies and proposing regional strategy and actions for implementation of the ecosystem-based fisheries management and for implementation of the FAO Code for Responsible Fisheries in the Black Sea;

b)  strengthening the relationships between the fisheries sector and environmental authorities (both national and international relevant institutions and governmental bodies as well international organizations and the private sector);

c)  assisting the Contracting Parties in implementing regionally the FAO Code for Responsible Fisheries;

d)  cooperation with FAO and other organizations and agreements

e)  measures to prevent the illegal fishing practices;

f)   harmonization of a legal and institutional framework at the regional level aimed at sustainable use of living resources;

g)  assessments of the efficiency of fisheries management system and environmental impact of the existing fisheries practices;

h)  improvement of management of the Black Sea fish stock exploitation based on harmonized methodologies of assessments based on agreed regional criteria;

i)   development of projects and programs for protection and rehabilitation of marine living resources and fish habitats;

j)    improvement of the aquaculture practice and technologies which do not harm coastal and marine environment, biological diversity and human health;

3.   acting as a regional consulting body for regionally important activities related to environmental aspects of fisheries for the Black Sea countries in close collaboration national authorities and with FAO;

4.   compiling the information on national systems of enforcement and fish stocks in order to establish a regionally harmonized enforcement system;

5.   coordinating the regional trainings in responsible management in fisheries and measures for combating illegal fishing as it deems necessary;

6.   drafting proposals and attracting the international financial assistance for solving regionally important environmental problems related to sustainable use of marine living resources in close cooperation with relevant organizations;

7.   ensuring the regular information flow into regional database on the fisheries and other marine living resources an integral part of the Black Sea Information System.


Main tasks

Specifically, the Advisory Group on Environmental Aspects of Management of Fisheries and Other Marine Living Resources is responsible for preparation the recommendations and documents to be considered by the Black Sea Commission and the regional coordination of following tasks:

1.   preparation of a draft and facilitation of adoption of a Legally Binding Instrument for Fisheries in the Black Sea


3.   development of fisheries specific indicators for the exchange of national information on regulations regarding fishing right allocation, fishery efforts, impact of aqua culture and fisheries on natural ecosystems, and good environmental practices for fisheries and aqua culture;

4.   creation, maintenance and upgrading of the Black Sea Fisheries Database comprising information on fisheries statistics, environmental conditions, stock assessments and interdisciplinary research programs in the Black Sea Region as a component of the Black Sea Information System;

5.   development and promotion of standardized techniques of the catch estimates, assessment methods for stocks and exploitable biomass of key species;

6.   facilitation of annual exchanges of national fisheries statistics data and National Fishery Researches Reports;

7.   coordination of regular stock assessments and common vessel surveys;

8.   preparation of recommendations for management plans for selected key fish stocks and draft common fisheries management procedures, taking into account those promoted by EU, FAO and other international specialized institutions;

9.   preparation and coordination of the specific projects for protection and rehabilitation of the critical habitats and threatened key species, in particular spawning and nursery grounds for demersal species like sturgeons, spiny dogfish and turbot;

10.     preparation and coordination of specific projects for development of marine aqua culture in the Black Sea area;

11.     cooperation with relevant international and regional fisheries organizations: FAO/GFCM, ICES, BSEC, Fisheries Commission for the Baltic Sea and for the Mediterranean Sea, ACCOBAMS, etc.;

12.     development of a set of technical guidelines to assure the uniformity of measurements and establish the quality assurance system in the regional and national fishery monitoring efforts.

Interaction within the Black Sea Commission Institutional Structure

The AG FOMLR is directly subordinated to and supported by the Black Sea Commission and its Permanent Secretariat and shall report to the Black Sea Commission on annual basis. The general coordination for the AG FOMLR is assigned by the Black Sea Commission to the appropriate officer of its Permanent Secretariat and supported by the Director of the Activity Center on Environmental Aspects of Fisheries and Other Marine Resources Management

The AG FOMLR shall closely cooperate with the other advisory groups of the Black Sea Commission in order to propose the coherent and cost effective measures for the protection and rehabilitation of the Black Sea ecosystem, namely:

a)  with AG ESAS for establishing the sensitive areas and their mapping in particular referring to the migratory routes of transboundary fish species;

b)  with AG CBD for establishing conservation status of fish species and their habitats;

c)  with AG ICZM for promoting development of aquaculture sector and preventing introduction of species of possible harm for the indigenous fish populations;

d)  with AG LBS in identifying and preventing impact of land-based pollution sources on fisheries spawning and nursery grounds;

e)  with PMA in assessing the environmental impact of fisheries and identifying monitoring needs for fisheries and aquaculture important areas based on ecosystem approach.

Interaction wit other conventions and stakeholders

In order to achieve tangible results and benefit from the international experience the AG FOMLR, when authorized by the BSC and on its behalf, shall seek:

1. close cooperation with FAO for introduction of responsible fisheries practices in the Black Sea and aquaculture promotion;

2. involvement of the private sector like fisheries companies, fishermen associations, etc. in elaboration and implementation of environmentally responsible fisheries policies and environmentally sound investments to the fisheries sector;

3. collaboration with research institutions in all Black Sea countries in order to achieve sustainability and continuity of the implementation of BSSAP related to the fisheries and other living marine resources;

4. involvement of general public, NGOs communities, local and fisherman organizations in particular for combating illegal and unreported fishing;

5. twining projects with UN and European conventions.

Reporting requirements:

In order to facilitate the Black Sea Commission work and to lessen the burden of the national reporting to the Bucharest Convention the AG FOMLR shall develop and implement a comprehensive reporting system on the environmental aspects of fisheries and other living resources management:

1.   elaborate and regular update questionnaire on the environmental aspects of fisheries and other living marine resources management relevant to the implementation of the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan and impact of fisheries on the marine environment;

2.   prepare and submit its work plan to the Permanent Secretariat two months prior the annual Black Sea Commission meetings for its approval and incorporation in the Black Sea Commission Work Plan;

3.   compile the annual report on current status of fisheries and other living marine resources in a format approved by the Commission two months prior the regular Commission meeting;

4.   in cooperation with other advisory groups and the Permanent Secretariat prepare and submit a chapter "Fisheries and Other Marine Living Resources" to the State of the Environment of the Black Sea Report every five years six months prior the Meeting of the Environmental Ministers;

5.   The AG FOMLR shall convene a meeting at least once a year no later than two months prior the Commission Meeting. More meetings could be called availability of funds and urgency of the issue under discussion. The Minutes of each AG FOMLR meeting should be delivered to the Permanent Secretariat no later than 10 days after meeting.

TORs Revision:

The AG FOMLR shall review the Terms of References, make necessary changes, as it deems necessary and submit it to the Secretariat two months prior the Commission meeting.