Workshop on Bottom Fisheries in the High Seas Areas of the Western Central Atlantic, Christ Church, Barbados, 30 September-2 October 2014.
The first meeting of the Working Group on the Management of Deep-sea fisheries of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC) took the form of a "Technical Workshop on Bottom Fisheries in the High Seas Areas of the Western Central Atlantic". The meeting was held in Christ Church, Barbados, from 30 September to 2 October 2014. This report contains a summary of the presentations, discussions, conclusions and recommendations of the meeting. The report is organized along topics rather than in chronological order. The meeting brought together 31 fisheries experts from 17 WECAFC member States and 4 institutions. The Working Group compiled available information on the high seas fisheries in the WECAFC area and noted that deep-sea fisheries in the High Seas had been and were occurring, and that they were likely to increase in the future. The Working Group also noted the international instruments and recommendations related to protecting vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) in the high seas of the WECAFC area. The group also noted with some concern that some of their shallow water fisheries were expanding into deeper waters. FAO outlined the mechanisms currently used to manage deep-sea fisheries and VMEs that could be affected by deep-sea fisheries. The FAO Deep-sea Fisheries Guidelines were presented to the group, which then applied them to VME elements within the region. The Working Group proposed a total of five potential VMEs within the WECAFC area. The recommendations of this workshop/working group will be presented for review to the seventh meeting of the WECAFC Scientific Advisory Group and to the sixteenth session of WECAFC.